New bridges, "smarter" interstates, smoother pavements and upgrades to ports and airports were the results of some of the projects recognized as winners of the America's Transportation Awards' southeastern regional competition, sponsored by the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO). The state departments of transportation in Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and North Carolina were honored for their innovation and hard work in completing several critical projects that will significantly improve transportation in their states.
"These projects represent a tremendous value to the taxpayer and illustrate the complex tasks that go into modernizing and maintaining the nation's system of highways and bridges," said John Horsley, executive director of AASHTO, in announcing the winners at the Southeastern Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (SASHTO) annual meeting in Little Rock, Ark. "In these tough economic times, state departments of transportation are making every dollar count, and these outstanding projects clearly show how all of us benefit."
AASHTO, AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sponsor the competition to honor America's very best in transportation.
"Clearly we are building great projects," said AASHTO President and Mississippi DOT Executive Director Larry "Butch" Brown. "State transportation departments are working hard, and we are being accountable, and we are performing with pride. This is a message we need to drive home with Congress. We need to let them know how important transportation funding is, and that we need a committed and reliable program to keep the momentum going."
Nine transportation projects from seven southeastern states were entered into four project categories: Best Recovery Act; On Time; Under Budget; and Innovative Management. The seven winning projects are now in the running for the America's Transportation Awards' Grand Prize and the People's Choice Award, which will be announced this fall.
The Virginia DOT received two awards: one for the Battlefield Boulevard Chesapeake Project in Hampton Roads, which was honored in the Innovative Management, Medium Project category; and another for the Jeremy's Run Bridge Project in the northwestern part of the state, which won in the On Time, Small Project category. Phase 2 of the SmartFIX40 Knoxville Project helped improve safety and reduced congestion, securing an award for the Tennessee DOT in the On Time, Medium Project category. The Arkansas Recovery Act Rehabilitation Project from the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department won in the Best Recovery Act, Medium Project category. Mississippi's DOT won an award in the Under Budget, Medium Project category for the Laurel S-Curve Reconstruction Project in Laurel.
An innovative program that encompassed hundreds of projects across the state—dubbed the Louisiana TIMED Project by the Louisiana DOTD—won in the Innovative Management, Large Project category. The North Carolina DOT's Morganton Bridge Replacement Project in Fayetteville won in the Innovative Management, Small Project category.
On Sept. 8, the Top Ten winners from all four regional competitions will be announced and will compete for the Grand Prize and People's Choice Award. The Grand Prize is awarded by an independent panel of transportation experts; the People's Choice Award will be selected through online voting by the general public. The winners will be announced on Oct. 31, at AASHTO's annual meeting.