WASHINGTON — Twelve state department of transportation projects were named finalists in the 2020 America’s Transportation Awards competition by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO); projects that make travel across America safer, better, and more accessible to motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians alike.
The 12 state DOT projects in Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington State and Wisconsin earned top honors in four regional contests held across the country. They now compete for two final awards — the Grand Prize and the People’s Choice Award. Both come with a $10,000 cash award for a charity or transportation-related scholarship of the winners’ choosing.
“The Top 12 projects are the best of the best. They’re helping to reduce traffic crashes and congestion [while] connecting people to jobs, recreation, and tourism,” explained Patrick McKenna, AASHTO’s 2019-2020 president and director of the Missouri Department of Transportation, in a statement.
“I’m privileged to be in a position where I can see how these transportation improvements benefit communities,” he said.
“During these extraordinary times, we’re seeing construction workers out there on the front lines continuing to build and repair the transportation infrastructure America depends on,” added Jim Tymon, AASHTO’s executive director.
“While many of these projects were completed before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they are today helping get medical supplies to hospitals and food to grocery stores,” he said.
“Transportation is essential, and this contest celebrates the people and the projects that are keeping America moving,” Tymon noted.
In the America’s Transportation Awards competition — sponsored by AASHTO, AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — state DOTs compete in three categories: Quality of Life/Community Development; Best Use of Technology and Innovation; and Operations Excellence.
The Top 12 finalists for the 2020 contest are:
- Arizona DOT: Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway (Best Use of Technology & Innovation Category, Large Project Group);
- Connecticut DOT: Community Connectivity Grant Program – Boxer Square Revitalization (Quality of Life/Community Development Category, Small Project Group);
- Georgia DOT: Columbus Riverwalk Project (Quality of Life/Community Development Category, Small Project Group);
- Hawaii DOT: Kauai Emergency Repairs (Operations Excellence Category, Medium Project Group);
- Minnesota DOT: Minnesota Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) Challenge (Best Use of Technology & Innovation Category, Small Project Group);
- New Jersey DOT: Route 72, Manahawkin Bay Bridges – Contract 4 (Quality of Life/Community Development Category, Medium Project Group);
- North Carolina DOT: Drones: North Carolina’s Future of Healthcare Logistics (Best Use of Technology & Innovation Category, Small Project Group);
- Ohio DOT: I-670 SmartLane Project (Best Use of Technology & Innovation Category, Medium Project Group);
- Pennsylvania DOT: Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement Program (Operations Excellence Category, Small Project Group);
- Virginia DOT: I-81 Corridor Operations Expansion Program – 2019 Activities (Operations Excellence Category, Small Project Group);
- Washington State DOT: State Route 99 Tunnel Project (Operations Excellence Category, Large Project Group); and
- Wisconsin DOT: WIS 116 Bridge (Quality of Life/Community Development Category, Small Project Group).
An independent panel of transportation industry experts will select the Grand Prize winner, while the public will decide the People’s Choice Award winner through online voting – which begins today and ends at 11:59 p.m. on October 25 – with online votes weighted to each state’s population, allowing for greater competition between states with larger and smaller populations.
AASHTO will announce the 2020 America’s Transportation Award winners at its annual meeting, to be held virtually the week of November 9-13.
As published in The Journal, the official publication of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), on Sept. 8.
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