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May 7, 2019

Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program Named Year’s Most Outstanding Engineering Triumph

Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program Named Year’s Most Outstanding Engineering Triumph

The groundbreaking Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program in Seattle has won the 2019 “Grand Conceptor” Award signifying the year’s most outstanding engineering achievement in the 53rd annual Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA).

More than 800 attended Tuesday night’s black-tie EEA Gala in Washington, D.C. hosted by Emmy award-winning comedian Ross Shafer where 196 preeminent engineering accomplishments from throughout the nation and the world were honored.

Produced by engineering firm WSP USA, the project replaced one of Seattle’s most earthquake-vulnerable highways with a 1.7-mile underground tunnel containing a state-of-the-art earthquake-resilient double-deck thoroughfare.

Located 200-feet beneath downtown, and within a highly active seismic region, the new tunnel has a revolutionary flexible concrete core that combines with its underground location to make it capable of withstanding a 9.0 earthquake.

Pioneering ventilation and fire control systems also make the tunnel one of the safest structures of its type in the world. Additionally, the project eliminates a half-century-old barrier separating downtown from its waterfront to pave the way for nine new acres of public-friendly space.

The new underground tunnel joins the Bayonne Bridge, Staten Island, NY (2018); the SR520 Floating Bridge Replacement, Seattle (2017); and the San Francisco Airport Air Traffic Control Tower, (2016) as recent distinguished ACEC Grand Conceptor Award winners.

Other Top 2019 EEA Winners were:

GRAND AWARDS (Project, location and Engineering Firm):

  • Lake Peachtree Spillway Replacement, Peachtree City, GA, by Schnabel Engineering;
  • VMI Corps Physical Training Facility, Lexington, VA, by WSP USA;
  • Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, Tarrytown, NY, by HDR;
  • New London Embassy, London, England, by Arup;
  • Linking Lookout: U.S. 6th and 19th Street Interchange, Lakewood, CO, by Muller Engineering;
  • Prickly Pear Creek Realignment, East Helena, MT, by Pioneer Technical Services;
  • Infinity Look, Vancouver, WA, by HDR;
  • Crooked River Wetlands, Prineville, OR, by Anderson Perry & Associates;
  • Salesforce Tower, San Francisco, by Magnusson Klemencic Associates;
  • Sarah Mildred Long Bridge, Portsmouth, NH, by Hardesty & Hanover and FIGG Bridge Engineers;
  • M.I.T. nano., Cambridge, MA, by BR+A Consulting Engineers;
  • Zoo Interchange and Adjacent Arterials, Milwaukee, Wauwatosa and West Alllis, WI, by Foward 45;
  • Times Square Shuttle Station Reconstruction Study, Manhattan, NY, by WSP USA;
  • Enhanced Nutrient Recovery at Back River Facility; Baltimore, MD, by Whitman, Requardt and Associates; and
  • San Pedro Creek Culture Park, San Antonio, Texas, by HDR and Pape Dawson Engineers 

2019 HONOR AWARDS (Project and Engineering Firm):

  • Barrington Road at I-90 Interchange & Park-and-Ride, Hoffman Estates, IL, by Crawford, Murphy and Tilly;
  • The Promenade of Wayzata, Wayzata, MN, by LHB/American Engineering & Testing/Ericksen Roed and Associates, and KFI Engineers;
  • Minnesota 210 Design-Build Flood Repair, Carlton, MN, by Barr Engineering Company;
  • Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, Omaha, NE, by HDR;
  • Swan Lake Reservoir Expansion Project, 22 miles northwest of Ketchikan, AK, by McMillan Jacobs Associates;
  • Aquifer Storage and Recovery Wells, Woodland, CA, by Carollo Engineers;
  • 53 West 53rd Street Tower, New York, NY, by WSP USA.;
  • I-70 Mountain Corridor East Bound Express Lane, Colorado, Springs, CO, by HDR;
  • Allison Creek Hydroelectric Design-Build Project, Valdez, AK, by McMillen Jacobs Associates;
  • Automated People Mover and ConRAC, Tampa, FL, by Walter P Moore, Gresham Smith & Master Consulting Engineers;
  • Vancouver Waterfront Park, Vancouver, WA, by BergerABAM;
  • American Center for Mobility, Ypsilanti, MI, by WSP Michigan; HNTB Michigan; Mannik and Smith Group; and NTH Consultants;
  • Delaware Memorial Bridge Cable Dehumidification, New Castle, DE, by AECOM;
  • eBART to Antioch: East Contra Costa (CA) Extension, by PGH Wong; AECOM; Ghirardelli Associates; MNS; and the contractor joint venture of Stacey Witbeck, Amoroso and Modern Railway Systems;
  • Delaware River Bridge Emergency Response, Bristol, PA, by Michael Baker International;
  • Riverside Drive and Gathering Place, Tulsa, OK, by HNTB;
  • Murray Wet Weather Facility, Seattle, by HDR;
  • Permanent Sheet Pile Wall, Pennsylvania Turnpike, by Earth, Inc.;
  • Westminster Station Park, Westminster, CO, by Muller Engineering Company; and
  • Niagara Falls State Park Transformation Initiative, by T.Y. Lin International

For more information about the 53rd annual ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards, contact Alan D. Crockett at 202-682-4301 or by email at


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