bridge replacement

The U.S. 6 bridge at Federal Boulevard, seen in 2014 before its demolition, was one of six obsolete bridges replaced in a project that won a regional America’s Transportation Award in the Under Budget Category.

The Colorado Department of Transportation has won two regional awards in a national competition for excellence in projects that boost travel safety, lessen Colorado traffic congestion, and offer more options for mobility.

The awards were announced recently at the conference of the Western Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials in Laramie, Wyoming. WASHTO, whose members include 18 states in the western United States, is one of four groups naming winners of the 2016 America’s Transportation Awards.

CDOT’s Executive Director Shalen Bhatt said:

We are thrilled to receive national recognition for these two innovative projects that are already improving the daily lives of commuters in the metro area and for mountain corridor travelers. CDOT thanks all the communities and partners involved in delivering these projects that help to improve the efficiency and safety of our transportation system.

Transportation Awards

The America’s Transportation Awards competition, now in its ninth year, is sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the American Automobile Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The contest gives awards for the best projects in transportation in three categories and sizes, including Quality of Life/Community Development, Best Use of Innovation, and Under Budget. The three size categories are projects that cost less than $25 million, $26 million to $199 million, and $200 million and more.

Winning Projects

CDOT was among 40 state transportation departments competing this year (in a record-setting 84 nominations), and its projects were among 30 entered by 15 DOTs in the WASHTO region alone including the most anticipated “Donate My Car” project.

In one of the CDOT winning projects, which cost $98 million, the department replaced six obsolete bridges along U.S. 6 between Knox Court and Interstate 25, and eliminated weaving between Federal Boulevard and I-25 to improve safety and reduce traveling time. This project won in the Under Budget category, in the medium-size group.

The other CDOT winner, in the Best Use of Innovation category, also in the medium size group, was the I-70 Mountain Express Lane project between Empire and Idaho Springs. This project converts the eastbound shoulder into an express lane during peak periods only to reduce traffic congestion and travel.

By creating this sometime-express lane, CDOT diverts as many as 900 vehicles along the 13-mile corridor and adjacent frontage roads. The project helps to facilitate freight movement, commerce, and access to recreational activities, and saves travelers and local residents time.

National Competition

The 10 regional projects that receive the highest score in the competition will get to compete for a National Grand Prize. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials will announce the Top 10 finalists in the last week of September. The winner will be determined by a transportation experts panel. In addition, online public voting from October 1-30 will determine a People’s Choice Award.

The two national award winners will be announced in November in Boston at the AASHTO annual meeting. In addition, every winning state department of transportation will also be given a $10,000 prize check for donation to a charity or scholarship of their choice.

Other state DOT winners so far include: Washington State, Oregon, and Idaho in the Quality of Life/Community Development category; Texas and South Dakota in the Best Use of Innovation category; and Idaho and North Dakota in the Under Budget category. Two remaining regions will be announce their winners in August.

Image by Xnatedawgx, via Wikimedia Commons, used under Creative Commons license.

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