Transportation construction organizations from Maine to Mississippi were recognized at the American Road and Transportation Builders Association Transportation Development Foundation's (ARTBA-TDF) seventh annual PRIDE Awards luncheon, held May 17 during the association's Federal Issues Program in Washington, D.C.
Established by the ARTBA board of directors in October 1999, the PRIDE Awards honor "excellence in community relations and public education that enhance the image of the U.S. transportation construction industry."
This year's awards competition was sponsored by Better Roads and ROADS & BRIDGES magazines. An independent panel of public-relations professionals and construction-industry journalists selected the winners.
State transportation departments and private sector firms were recognized in the following categories:
Public-media relations/education: This category recognizes programs and activities that educate the public and opinion leaders about the significant contributions the transportation construction industry (or a specific sector of it) makes to the economy and quality of life.
Community relations: This category recognizes programs and activities that demonstrate positive civic involvement with the community in which a public agency, firm or association is located.
First place: The Louis Berger Group and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA)
The NJTA's plan to construct a new interchange on the Turnpike in Secaucus included the proposed disinterment of an unmarked burial ground dating back to 1880 known as Potter's Field. The agency joined forces with The Louis Berger Group to disinter all human remains in the field, reclaim their identities and relocate them to an existing and functioning cemetery. Berger Group worked with the news media and relatives of the deceased to keep them informed and reassure the project was being handled sensitively and with all due care. After nearly nine months, more than 4,000 remains were re-located and financial resources were dedicated to creating a permanent memorial monument and providing perpetual care of the re-interment site.
State Transportation Departments
First place: Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD)
To help the general public better understand its commitment to environmental stewardship, the AHTD produced "Beyond the Pavement," an educational video designed to provide greater insight into the agency's day-to-day activities. It highlighted the processes used to assess environmental impacts of highway projects before plans are made or land is altered. Nearly 1,500 videos were sent to public schools and libraries in the state and it is being shown in each Arkansas Welcome Center.
First place: Cashman/Balfour Beatty Construction and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)
Cashman/Balfour Beatty, JV, in partnership with the MBTA developed and executed an extensive community outreach program to educate and inform residents and businesses about the design and construction of the $250 million Greenbush commuter rail line in south shore suburbs of Boston. It included development of a project-related telephone hot line and website, e-mail alerts and a radio call-in show. Regular meetings with civic associations, rotary clubs and local chambers of commerce to provide progress reports were also key to building community support for the project.
State Transportation Departments
First place: Maine Department of Transportation (Maine DOT)
When Maine DOT engineers began designing a replacement for the historic and iconic steel-suspension Waldo-Hancock Bridge over the Penobscot River, time was one of the biggest hurdles. Unexpected levels of cable corrosion on the historic bridge meant that construction had to begin right away, and that meant gaining community support in short order for a newly designed cable stayed bridge.
The department initiated an extensive public involvement process that moved at an unprecedented pace. Community workshops soliciting advice about the bridge design, a project website with questions and answers page, live web cams showing the construction and a final town hall style meeting, were all part of the department's program. Construction of the bridge continues on pace and with the strong support and pride of area residents.
The ARTBA-TDF also presented a special PRIDE Award to New Orleans-based Boh Bros. Construction in recognition of the firm's outstanding leadership in recovery and rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Katrina.