Indianapolis — State transportation department projects that are improving safety across all travel modes, expanding mobility for communities, reducing congestion on roadways, and providing additional transportation options, all while saving taxpayer dollars and showcasing new innovations, were named recipients of top honors in the mid America regional America's Transportation Awards competition at the Mid America Association of State Transportation Officials 2014 annual meeting.
"The America's Transportation Awards competition showcases the exceptional, innovative and diverse range of transportation projects by state transportation departments that are improving travel and the quality of life in America, even during a time of funding uncertainty," said Mike Hancock, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials president and secretary of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. "These awards not only give state DOTs recognition for their hard work and incredible results, but also highlight the need for stability as the federal Highway Trust Fund continues its decline toward critical levels. These projects reflect a commitment to the nation's future and the need for continued investment in the transportation systems upon which we all depend."
Now in its seventh year, the America's Transportation Awards competition — sponsored by AASHTO, AAA, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — recognizes the very best of America's transportation projects in three categories: Under Budget, Best Use of Innovation, and Quality of Life/Community Development, a newly created category which honors projects that better connect and contribute to the general quality of life and economic development of communities. It is a record-breaking year for the America's Transportation Awards, as more state DOT members than ever are participating (37 in total), entering more projects than ever before (73).
Eighteen transportation projects from eight mid-American states were nominated in those categories.
Two states were named winners in the Quality of Life/Community Development category: Michigan Department of Transportation's Creston North-Quarter Keystone project and Wisconsin Department of Transportation's WIS 35/Tower Avenue project tied for first place in the small project category (projects costing less than $25 million).
The Under Budget category featured three winners: Michigan Department of Transportation's M-231 over Little Robinson Creek (small project), Minnesota Department of Transportation's I-694 North Central project in the medium project category (projects costing between $26 million and $199 million), and Illinois Department of Transportation's Red Line South Reconstruction in the large project category (costing more than $200 million).
In the Best Use of Innovation category, three projects from four states were recognized: Indiana Department of Transportation's I-65/I-70 South Split project (small project), Ohio Department of Transportation's U.S. Route 33 Nelsonville Bypass project (medium project), and Missouri Department of Transportation and Illinois Department of Transportation's joint Mississippi River Bridge project (large project).
The winners of all regional contests have been named at each region's annual meeting, held throughout the summer, with one regional meeting still to take place in August.
The 10 projects with the highest overall scores will compete for the National Grand Prize and People's Choice Award. The Grand Prize winner is selected by a panel of transportation experts. The People's Choice Award is presented to the transportation project that receives the most online votes from the public. The America's Transportation Awards Top 10 will be announced on Sept. 8, when the online voting will also begin. The winners of both national awards will be announced at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in Charlotte, N.C., in November, where both winning state DOTs will receive a $10,000 check to be given to a transportation-related charity or scholarship program of their choice.
Learn more about all of the nominated projects and the competition at www.AmericasTransportationAwards.org.