The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) this week announced the winners of its 2023 PCI Design Awards, which recognize design excellence in building and transportation categories.
“We are once again thrilled to recognize the tremendous capabilities of the precast concrete industry to meet the needs of the built environment, especially on this milestone 60th anniversary of the program,” said PCI President and CEO Bob Risser, PE. “Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks to the jurors and PCI staff who make the program a success. Through the past 60 years, the precast concrete industry continues to innovate and improve and these exemplary projects are the latest examples of that.”
The PCI Design Awards have showcased and recognized the creative and innovative use of precast concrete for the past 60 years. A panel of industry experts that includes engineers, architects, and precast concrete producers judges all nominees. The buildings and transportation categories are judged on aesthetic, structural, and use versatility; site, energy and operational efficiency, and risk reduction; and resiliency, such as structure durability, multi-hazard protection, and life safety and health.
Several projects are also honored with special awards. These are judged on similar criteria to the building and transportation projects, as well as additional requirements, including industry advancement, sustainable design, technology, and designs using all-precast concrete solutions.
The award winning transportation projects are:
- Acceler-8 I-90 Replacement Project: The Acceler-8 Interstate 90 (I-90) bridge replacement project outside of Boston epitomized rapid bridge-replacement and bridge-bundling techniques. The challenge was to replace eight bridges in eight weekends during the summer of 2021. The use of precast concrete components was essential to the successful completion of every crossing.
- I-579 Urban Open Space Cap: The construction of Interstate 579 (I-579) through Pittsburgh, Pa., more than 60 years ago separated the Hill District from the downtown. With the help of federal grant money from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program, the Urban Open Space Cap project creates a new modern park with room for outdoor events and reconnects the disenfranchised district to the city’s economic core.
- Key Crossing Reliability Initiative: Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) owns and operates a high-voltage transmission grid. Most of BGE’s 230-kV lines circling Baltimore are above ground; however, at the Key Bridge, the utility has underwater lines, which were put into the riverbed in the 1970s. The 2.5-mile-long portion of the line that crosses the Patapsco River through the main shipping channel is located approximately 10 to 15 ft below the riverbed. Having been in service for over 50 years, this portion displayed signs of deterioration. Given that this section was critical for the resiliency of the grid system, BGE planned to replace it with a new transmission line crossing.
- Mid-Coast Extension of the UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley: The Mid-Coast Extension of the University of California San Diego Blue Line adds 11 miles of light rail to the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, from downtown San Diego to the university. The extension provides an alternative to congested freeways and connects the corridor with areas served by the existing trolley system.
- Swift Island Historic Arch Bridge Rehabilitation and Widening: The new, higher-elevation Swift Island Arch Bridge was constructed to replace the original bridge, and the older bridge was destroyed. The original bridge’s demise provided valuable information on bridge construction and demolition. In what would become known as the “Battle of Swift Island Bridge,” the U.S. Army tried various techniques to demolish it. First, the bridge was overloaded with weight, then it was bombed from the air, and, finally, explosives were used to bring it down.
Winning projects will be recognized February 24 at the 2022 PCI Convention in Columbus, Ohio.