36 Top Award winners in the 2020 Engineering Excellence Awards

36 Top Award winners in the 2020 Engineering Excellence Awards

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Firm Name:
Project Name:
Project Location:
Millersville University Net Zero Welcome Center
Millersville, PA
Millersville University

Pioneering mechanical and electrical design is helping Millersville University achieve its goal of a total carbon neutral campus by 2040. Its new Lombardo Welcome Center is already a sustainable net-zero facility, with a 172.6-kW photovoltaic roof array, a 20-panel ground-mounted array that can track the sun throughout the day, and a 20-underground well geothermal system. The building currently generates 210% of its annual power needs with the extra used for other campus structures.

New U.S. Embassy, Pristina, Kosovo
Pristina, Kosovo
U.S. Department of State

The new U.S. Embassy in Pristina, Kosovo is a water-saving marvel. The embassy surrounds a large multi-purpose water feature that collects stormwater and effluent from an on-site wastewater treatment plant, and supplies irrigation water for landscaping and graywater for toilet flushing. The water also serves as a large heat sink for the central plant’s ground-source heat pump system by allowing the building’s HVAC system to extract heat in cold months and reject waste heat in warmer weather.

The Shed
New York, NY
Client: Diller Scofidio +Renfro
Owner: The Shed Board of Trustees

Imaginative engineering crafted a an eye-catching 115-foot-tall performance and exhibition building that can move or retract as needed to accommodate a range of patrons, artists, scales, and complexities. When an event calls for more space, the outer shell of the flexible semi-translucent lightweight material can be deployed and cover a 17,000-square-foot area. Operable door and wall elements allow for an open-air pavilion or a fully enclosed, climate-controlled hall. Rolling out 114 feet at its top speed, the shed can be fully deployed in just five minutes.

Amazon Urban Neighborhood
Seattle, WA
NBBJ / Amazon

Rejecting the idea of a traditional corporate campus, creative structural design helped produce the “Neighborhood” a breathtaking three-block urban development. It features three 38-story office towers and “The Spheres” a nine-story structure with three intersecting, glass-and-steel sphere conservatories designed to enhance employee creativity and collaboration. The spheres include treehouse meeting rooms, waterfalls, a four-story “living wall,” and more than 40,000 exotic plants from 30 countries.

Samuel de Champlain Bridge
Montreal, Québec, Canada
Client: Signature on the Saint Lawrence Construction G.P.
Owner: Infrastructure Canada

Credit @Thomas Heinser, Provided by T.Y. Lin International

Serving as a major gateway into the City of Montréal, the new 2.1-mile, Samuel De Champlain Bridge spans the St. Lawrence River between Île des Soeurs and Montréal’s South Shore and is the cornerstone of the New Champlain Bridge Corridor Project, one of North America’s largest infrastructure initiatives. The landmark asymmetric cable-stayed structure features a single, 558-foot-tall concrete tower and stay cables in an aesthetic harp arrangement.

Lower Crystal Springs Dam Bridge Replacement
San Mateo County, CA
County of San Mateo Department of Public Works

A complete reconfiguration of a 1920s-era bridge was successfully accomplished, including raising the structure’s fortification wall by about seven feet, along with its approaches, and the adjacent Vista Point overlook. Mechanical seismic isolation bearings were used to isolate the deck structure from the supporting bents and pier walls that are anchored to the dam crest. The new route across the reservoir provides trail users with a beautiful view of the water and woods in the 23,000-acre watershed.

Manning Crevice Bridge
Riggins, ID
Idaho County

Believed to be the first of its kind in North America and only the seventh similarly designed bridge in the world, The Manning Crevice Bridge is rare single-tower asymmetrical roadway suspension bridge featuring a single-tower. Design selection for the 300-foot-long bridge was the best option to deal with challenging site conditions including steep topography, equipment restrictions, and swift and highly variable river flows.

Satellite & GPS Measurement to Support Calif., Groundwater Management Act
Statewide, CA
CA Dept. of Natural Resources

As part of a three-year project to measure ground subsidence statewide and identify potential risks to infrastructure, the project team looked to the sky, or in other words, satellite-based Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar technology. Utilizing two satellites launched in opposite orbits, the team isolated not only any deformation from subsidence, but also vertical change across the entire state. Satellite readings now help more than 260 local groundwater agencies protect infrastructure from costly subsidence-related damage.

Copperhill Watershed Restoration
Ducktown, TN
Glenn Springs Holdings

More than a century of logging, mining and acid production left Copper Basin contaminated with hazardous concentrated metals including copper, iron, and zinc-forming sulfur compounds. Since mining operations ended in 1987, a massive nearly 20-year effort took place to clean up what was the largest reclamation site in the eastern U.S. Restoration efforts for the 4,000-acre site included disposal of mining waste, construction of clean-water diversions and piping around mining-impacted areas; and re-establishment of natural, healthy communities of aquatic insects; and construction of new contaminant-filtering wetlands. What once was the site of orange rivers nearly devoid of fish and aquatic species, is now green and lush and a popular spot for white water rafting and fishing.

Virginia Initiative Plant Nutrient Reduction
Norfolk, VA

A pioneering $161 million upgrade to this wastewater treatment facility redoubles the district’s efforts to restore health of the Chesapeake Bay. A unique versatile bioreactor integrated with the plant’s existing nutrient removal processes help meet increasingly stringent discharge quality mandates, while increasing peak flow capacity by 50 percent. Ten buildings and more than 90 miles of foundation piles, and a 108-inch-diameter pipeline were installed to support structures and utilities over a closed landfill.

Trap Rock Water Treatment Facility
Leesburg, VA
Loudoun Water

Innovative treatment plant upgrades help a major water district meet water treatment requirements, potential future regulations, and emerging contaminant risks. The expansion increases the facility’s treatment capacity to 40 million gallons per day, incorporates two-step ozone, two-stage mixing, flocculation, sedimentation, biological filtration, chlorine disinfection, and ultraviolet inactivation systems. A new solar photovoltaic system generates about 40,000 kW of clean renewable energy annually.

I-90 Hyak to Keechelus Dam Phase 1C
Snoqualmie Pass, WA
Client: Washington State Department of Transportation

New side-by-side and elevated avalanche bridges can accommodate a 100-year snow slide event, while minimizing road closures and increasing vehicle capacity when traveling one of the most scenic mountain ranges in the U.S. The twin 1,200-foot-long avalanche bridges incorporate new standards for Cascade Mountain snow designs. Located along a hazardous stretch of I-90, the new bridges provide a freeway safe from rockfall and avalanches.

Virginia Avenue Tunnel Reconstruction
Washington, D.C.
CSX Transportation

A common rail traffic choke point has been eliminated for a major rail corridor along the eastern seaboard. The century-old Virginia Avenue Tunnel was a single-track tunnel that could only accommodate one single-stack train at a time, which caused major rail backups. The state-of-the-art two tunnel replacement can also accommodate double-stack intermodal trains. Cross streets spanning the 11 city blocks above the tunnel construction were rebuilt with shared-use paths and dedicated bike lanes.

I-696 Innovative Design Project
Macomb County, MI
Michigan Department of Transportation

Accelerated pavement deterioration on I-696 forced the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to fast-track immediate repairs to avoid a traffic nightmare when in proximity with upcoming major I-75 construction. The project team used advanced 3D modeling to create electronic documents that provided accurate depictions of the pavement surface for contractors and surveyors and became a first for MDOT for including electronic deliverables as part of the actual contract.

San Gabriel Trench Grade Separation
San Gabriel, CA
San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments

Four congested at-grade rail crossings were eliminated through innovative design which lowered a 1.4-mile section of the Union Pacific Railroad track into a 30-foot-deep concrete trench, that was then topped with new pedestrian and vehicle bridges. Eliminating a longstanding safety hazard, the new trench also reduces emissions from nearly 90,000 idling motorists and saved more than $100 million in excavation and associated construction costs.

Hudson Yards
New York, NY
The Related Companies; Oxford Properties Group

Innovative foundation design will support a massive concrete and steel platform to support a proposed massive urban development including twelve mixed-use 50- to-70-story towers above congested rail tracks and utilities. The project will cover Long Island Railroad’s John D. Caemmerer West Side Storage Yard with the platform, creating 32 acres of “new” developable real estate.



Firm Name:
Project Name:
Project Location:
Big Sioux River Flood Information System
Eastern, SD
South Dakota Department of Environment & Natural Resources

In response to repeated major flooding that crippled several Big Sioux River communities in recent years, a new state-of-the-art flood information system now system helps decision-makers, emergency managers, weather service providers, effectively plan appropriate flood mitigation responses. The system is a one-stop web platform for real-time stream conditions, flood forecasts, visualizations, and inundation maps. Detailed computer models can simulate weather and watershed conditions across the entire basin from 2-year to 500-year events.

East Side Coastal Resiliency EIS
New York City, NY
New York City Department of Design and Construction

The project team helped lead development of a $1.45 billion project aimed at improving New York City’s ability to withstand and recover from a major storm. The project targets a 2.4-mile stretch along Manhattan’s East Side. It addresses at-risk critical structures such as major pump and electrical stations, and more than 1,500 buildings. An integrated flood protection system features floodwalls and floodgates.

Hale Centre Theatre
Sandy, Utah
Hale Centre Theatre

Innovative mechanical system design provides assures patron comfort and an outside noise-free experience at this unique 900-seat theater-in-the-round venue. An innovative, first-of-its-kind displacement ventilation system assures indoor comfort. Large air handlers are enclosed in heavy concrete and located on the roof above the lobby rather than the theater to enhance a noise-free theater environment.

HDR Headquarters Multi-Use Office Building
Omaha, NE
Noddle Companies

Dynamic engineering is on display at the new headquarters for one of the world’s leading engineering firms. The 10-story, 240,000-square-foot structure features an imaginative façade with an its form sliced at the corners to maximize space on upper floors. The building also contains a highly integrated system of temperature and lighting controls to reduce energy consumption. An underground chamber detention system captures and treats storm water runoff prior to entering the city’s collection system.

Columbia University's Manhattanville Campus
New York, NY
Columbia University

Innovative foundation design now supports a new 17-acre campus featuring new mid-rise academic and research buildings. The site required interconnected below-grade space and deep excavation below the groundwater table for multiple basement levels, a central energy plant, and bridge structures to support local streets. Multiple foundation types in a phased construction approach, included a rare top-down construction approach which allowed structures to rise during excavation below.

Poplar Street Bridge Widening and Rehabilitation
St. Louis, MO
Missouri Department of Transportation

Nicknamed the St. Louis’ “big slide,” the project team used specialized equipment to lift a 2,165-foot-long, 20.4-million-pound eastbound bridge, and moved it nine feet south along its support pier—setting a record for the longest existing bridge and heaviest overall bridge relocation in the U.S. Completed as part of a major interchange overhaul, the project solved a host of design and maintenance challenges, while improving safety and vehicle capacity.

Marc Basnight Bridge
Dare County, NC
Client: PCL Civil Constructors

A new 2.8-mile bridge spans one of the most dangerous channels on the Atlantic Coast, replacing a 1960s-era bridge which required near-continuous repair, and provides safer access for thousands of visitors to the Outer Banks’ famed beaches. The project team created simulations of more than 100,000 storms dating back 160 years to develop a foundation and structural support system capable of withstanding Oregon Inlet’s powerful, ever-shifting currents for the next 100 years.

15 Hudson Yards
New York, NY
Related Companies

Constructed above the new No. 7 Subway extension line and a recently built Amtrak tunnel, the eye-catching, super-slender 918-foot-tall condominium skyscraper is supported by groundbreaking structural design. To sculpt the building’s unique curved massing, the project team used systems of surreptitious stepping and sloping columns with structural transfers dispersed throughout the height of the tower. A double story tuned slosh damper keeps the tower stable in high winds.

University of Wisconsin–Madison Hamel Music Center
Madison, WI
Strang, Inc.

Imaginative engineering created an elegant new performance center where concert, recital, and rehearsal halls are three separate buildings within one large overall structure. Each hall features state-of-the art acoustics and sound isolation, not only from nearby traffic or lobby noise, but from music emanating from adjacent halls. Interior walls are lined with an acoustical coffer system to enhance superior sound treatment.

SW Brooklyn Marine Transfer Station Project
Brooklyn, NY
New York City Department of Sanitation

The new state-of-the-art solid-waste facility features innovative processing that efficiently containerizes municipal solid waste for transfer to landfills via barges. Maximizing efficiency and safety, the 85,000-square-foot facility has a top-floor tipping level for truck unloading, and a loading level for compressing and loading solid waste through open floor slots. The new facility reduces tractor-trailer traffic, its carbon footprint, and enhances environmental safety.

Kaneohe-Kailua Wastewater Facilities Project
Honolulu, HI
City & County of Honolulu, Department of Environmental Services

Two major treatment facilities were connected by a new 3-mile-long, 10-foot-diameter, fiberglass-lined sewer tunnel, making it the state’s longest conveyance pipeline. In addition to moving wastewater by gravity, the pipeline can store up to nine million gallons of wastewater during wet-weather events, which prevents accidental discharges of untreated sewage into the environment.

Aquifer Storage and Recovery Program Services
Hastings, NE
Hastings Utilities

To provide the city with long-term, reliable potable water supply, the project team developed a five-prong solution that includes dual pumping, focused treatment, irrigation reuse and management, blending and storage, and aquifer storage and recovery. The plan addresses increasing levels of nitrate and uranium contamination, as well as options for treatment and disposal. This approach substantially reduces operation costs while providing long-term protection for the aquifer.

Beaver Creek Fish Passage
La honore, OR
City of La honore, Oregon

A creative fish passage system allows migratory fish to overcome a 30-foot-high dam and reach an upstream watershed. Challenged by a remote, high-mountain location, the project team design solution included 59 precast concrete vortex weirs placed along 400 feet along the dam spillway. Each 27,000-pound weir allowed fish to ascend the steep grade from the natural channel below to the reservoir above, then on to high mountain waters. Success was realized the next summer when steelhead nests appeared above the dam for the first time in a century.

Reconstruction of Harlem River Drive over 127th Street
New York, NY
New York City Department of Transportation

Numerous hazards for nearly 100,000 daily motorists have been diminished by replacing an existing steel structure over East 127th Street with two new parallel prestressed concrete girder viaducts. Adding a left lane exit for southbound traffic and flattening the bridge’s vertical curve improves sight distances for stopping and helps correct other longstanding and dangerous conditions which contributed to high accident rates.

Beehive Bridge
New Britain, CT
City of New Britain

Imaginative engineering produced a new eye-catching new bridge that improves area neighborhood connectivity. Inspired by the city’s motto: “industry fills the hive and enjoys the honey” the new Beehive Bridge sports curved panels in shades of translucent orange to resemble a giant honeycomb and a bumblebee’s flight. Sunlight through bridge panels creates changing patterns on the streetscape. Glowing LED lighting showcases the structure at night.

MAASTO Truck Parking Information Management System
Statewide, Kansas
Kansas Department of Transportation

A first-of-its-kind, multi-state regional Truck Parking Information Management System (TPMIS), helps long-haul truck drivers find safe locations to park. An elaborate system uses detection technology to identify available spots at state-operated rest stops and parking facilities. Real-time information is then relayed to truck drivers via roadside message signs, in-cab systems, and mobile applications. The new system already is deployed at 18 truck parking sites along I-70 from Topeka to the Colorado state line.

I-235 Broadway Widening at 50th St. & BNSF RR
Oklahoma City, OK
Oklahoma Department of Transportation

Accelerated bridge construction methods helped create a major new NW 50th Street crossing and nearby BNSF rail bridge, while minimizing disruption to commuter rail traffic. Installation of the highway bridge was completed in a single three-day weekend, while the rail bridge took less than a day. The expedited construction process project significantly improved safety for motorists and worker motorists, who did not have to contend with months of lane closures.

Bayou Sara Swing Bridge
Mobile County, AL

The new swing bridge replaces its outdated 1928-era, single-track bridge version. The new swing span is metalized to combat common high storm surges of brackish. It also is hydraulically driven with enclosed motors and features a center-pivot service tower to keep most equipment elevated above any flood levels. The new swing bridge was installed within a 15-hour outage window to keep rail operations on schedule.

Rainier Square Tower Shoring Design
Seattle, WA
Wright Runstad & Company

Creative structural modeling helped transform an underused city block into a fully developable site for Seattle’s second-tallest building. The new building and its seven?level garage were to be built immediately adjacent to the 40-year-old Rainier Tower. A quarter of the site’s soil had to be replaced with a temporary shoring system to preserve stability and structural integrity as excavation extended 50 feet deeper than the nearby tower’s shallow foundation. The old building remained safe and fully occupied with no perceptible lean or settlement.

ABC Weekend Superstructure Replacement
Falls Church, VA
Virginia Department of Transportation, Northern Virginia District

The project team applied accelerated bridge construction (ABC) techniques to expedite the replacement of the aging superstructure in Seven Corners, one of Northern Virginia’s busiest and most complicated intersections. Rather than staging months-long lane closures that would have crippled traffic in the area, the replacement superstructure was constructed adjacent to the existing bridge. Over a 54-hour weekend closure, the old bridge was demolished, and the new section put in place well in advance of the start of the following Monday morning rush hour.