Dixie Contractor

Dedicated to the people who make our built environment better and safer. We tell your stories and celebrate your successes.

Register with us and receive industry news and content only available to subscribers.

Subscribe
Contacts

Indianapolis, IN, USA (HQ)

903 E. Ohio St., Indianapolis, IN 46202

Call: (317) 423-2325

info@acppubs.com

Five Projects in Washington, Idaho, and Alaska Win Regional America’s Transportation Awards

by: Jessica Hoover
Active Transportation Plan 2020 and Beyond - Judy Willott rides her bike on the Foothills Trail with Mt. Rainier in the background. (Photo courtesy of Don Willott for the Puyallup Watershed Initiative, used by WSDOT with permission)
Active Transportation Plan 2020 and Beyond - Judy Willott rides her bike on the Foothills Trail with Mt. Rainier in the background. (Photo courtesy of Don Willott for the Puyallup Watershed Initiative, used by WSDOT with permission)
Mukilteo Multimodal Ferry Terminal
Mukilteo Multimodal Ferry Terminal
I-5 Steilacoom-DuPont Road to Thorne Lane - Corridor Improvements
I-5 Steilacoom-DuPont Road to Thorne Lane - Corridor Improvements
Fastlane: Conquering Corridor Challenges
Fastlane: Conquering Corridor Challenges
Kivalina Evacuation and School Site Project - Drone shot of the newly constructed bridge and causeway across Kivalina Lagoon, looking northeast toward K-Hill from Kivalina. (Photo courtesy of DOT&PF construction staff)
Kivalina Evacuation and School Site Project - Drone shot of the newly constructed bridge and causeway across Kivalina Lagoon, looking northeast toward K-Hill from Kivalina. (Photo courtesy of DOT&PF construction staff)
Five state department of transportation projects in Washington, Idaho, and Alaska won regional awards in the 2022 America’s Transportation Awards competition, sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), AAA, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The competition recognizes state DOTs for making a difference in their community, with each project falling into one of three categories: Operations Excellence, Best Use of Technology & Innovation, and Quality of Life/Community Development.

“State DOTs are overwhelmingly focused on innovative solutions to address the transportation issues of today and tomorrow, meeting challenges involving climate change, equity, resiliency, and safety,” said Jim Tymon, Executive Director of AASHTO. “The America’s Transportation Awards program shows just how they’re doing that. Whether on foot, in a vehicle, on two wheels, or by rail or transit, state DOTs are continuing to advance a safe, multimodal transportation system.”

In the Western region, 12 states nominated 22 projects for this year’s competition. The following five projects in the Pacific Builder & Engineer area were winners of the regional America’s Transportation Awards.

Active Transportation Plan 2020 and Beyond (Quality of Life/Community Development, Small Category)
This project won in the Quality of Life/Community Development category, which honors projects that better connect people to businesses, jobs, health care facilities, and recreational activities while encouraging a mix of transportation modes. The Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) Active Transportation Plan uses input from public outreach to create a guide for the future of walking, biking, and rolling on or across state highways in Washington.

One aspect of the $500,000 plan addresses factors most often associated with traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries. In 2021, people walking and rolling made up around 26 percent of all traffic fatalities in Washington.

“Every one of those deaths is a tragedy for those who knew and loved them,” said Barb Chamberlain, Active Transportation Division Director at WSDOT. “The approach we took starts with the need to design for safety. We’re all pedestrians at some point in every trip, and making roads safer for pedestrian/bicyclist movement will make them safer for people driving, too.”

Komatsu Dealer Program
Your local Komatsu America Corp dealer
Linder Industrial Machinery
Power Equipment Co

With more fatal and serious crashes occurring in places with both higher rates of poverty and a higher proportion of minorities, the plan also considers ways to correct for the effects of past infrastructure decisions on active transportation safety and mobility.

“We dig into the specifics of how to improve active transportation with WSDOT playing a key role on state highways that cut through places where people should be able to walk and bike safely,” Chamberlain said. “Completing networks across those jurisdictional boundaries, prioritizing safety and equity, changing those wide, fast, busy roads so traffic moves smoothly and safely — all of these will save lives and make better towns.”

Other highlights from the plan include:

  • Provides a first-ever needs assessment of the state system for active transportation use
  • Gives a cost estimate for walk and bike improvements on the state highway in population centers
  • Introduces the concept of a statewide bikeways and trails network
  • Uses “level of traffic stress” as a quantitative tool to evaluate the state system
  • Addresses the burden of out-of-direction travel for pedestrians and bicyclists
  • Sets performance metrics to monitor progress
  • Lists strategies needed for WSDOT and partners to move ahead with the work
Mukilteo Multimodal Ferry Terminal (Quality of Life/Community Development, Medium Category)
In December 2020, the $187-million Mukilteo Multimodal Ferry Terminal became Washington State Ferries’ first new terminal in 40 years. The project replaced a 63-year-old terminal that was seismically deficient and built on eroded timber piles with a facility that improves safety and accessibility for pedestrians, vehicles, and bicycles. With more than 4 million total riders every year, the Mukilteo/Clinton ferry route is WSDOT’s busiest for drive-on passengers.

“It used to take over the downtown traffic every half hour for 15 minutes, so we relocated away from the busy city center of Mukilteo and closer to a commuter train station,” said Diane Rhodes, Communications Lead for the Mukilteo Multimodal Ferry Terminal Project. “The old terminal was very small and built for traffic at that time. So this new one, in addition to taking sea level rise into account, it also was built to handle the traffic on that route that is expected to increase.”

The LEED Gold-certified and ADA-compliant terminal includes a passenger building and maintenance building; transit center for connections to buses and trains; passenger overhead loading; in-water docking and loading structures; signalized intersection and expanded vehicle holding area; waterfront promenade; and toll plaza.

Vogele
Your local Wirtgen America dealer
Power Equipment Co

The terminal’s site is of historical and tribal significance, being the location of the 1855 Point Elliott treaty signing. WSDOT worked with local tribes to incorporate art from tribal artists, to create interpretive boards conveying tribal history, and to design the terminal into the shape of a tribal longhouse.

I-5 Steilacoom-DuPont Road to Thorne Lane – Corridor Improvements (Operations Excellence, Large Category)
This project won in the Operations Excellence category, which honors projects that demonstrate the ability to operate the existing transportation system as safely and efficiently as possible. WSDOT’s I-5 corridor improvements relieved traffic congestion and improved mobility by rebuilding the interchanges at Thorne Lane and Berkeley Street and adding high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes in each direction.

I-5 is a national highway of strategic importance that moves goods, freight, and people between two borders, links major cities, and serves as a critical corridor for military use.

“We used to see pretty significant backups on northbound I-5 every day in this corridor during the morning commute and again on Sundays,” said Cara Mitchell, Spokesperson for WSDOT. “When we opened up that HOV lane, that congestion largely disappeared, traffic started moving again, and people’s commute times were reduced. That’s life-changing because that’s more time that you get to spend doing other things rather than sitting in traffic. HOV lanes are really important because they move people rather than just vehicles.”

In addition to the HOV lanes, the $245-million project also used roundabouts and auxiliary lanes to keep traffic moving and reduce potential collisions. The improvements have improved travel times, reduced maintenance costs, and improved safety.

Fastlane: Conquering Corridor Challenges (Operations Excellence, Small Category)
The cities of Coeur d’Alene and Hayden experience a significant amount of traffic on US-95 — almost 60,000 cars per day, nearly as much as larger Idaho interstates like I-90. This Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) project reduced travel times for motorists, improved travel efficiency through better signal timing, and increased safety by incorporating left turning lanes and curbed medians to improve corridor management.

“[For this project] we tried to use what we had the best that we could, and we tried to create these half-mile spacings so that we could optimize the green times,” Project Manager Carrie Ann Hewitt said. “We installed new signals to help with keeping that flow going and added side turn lanes to get the [traffic] flowing out of the side streets as best as we could. It was all about trying to keep the traffic flowing.”

Gomaco
Your local Gomaco dealer
Ring Power Corporation

The $5-million Fastlane project also repaved and widened nearly nine miles of shared use path and installed 93 ADA-compliant ramps. Since the completion of this project, the Idaho State Police said that travel time has been shortened throughout the corridor and that there has been a reduction in crashes.

According to Megan Jahns, Public Information Officer at ITD, the department was in a good position to take on this project due to the formation of unified stakeholders and partners.

“Bringing all those entities together and working on that project made us eligible for the Fastlane grant,” Jahns said. “When you have a grant, it eases the burden on the local community. So we were the right people to bring other state partners together to get this project done.”

Kivalina Evacuation and School Site Project (Quality of Life/Community Development, Medium Category)
The community of Kivalina, located on a low-lying barrier island, for decades had no safe or reliable means of evacuation in the event of a catastrophic storm. Seeing the immediate need for an evacuation route, the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) and its partners used an accelerated timeframe to deliver the Kivalina Evacuation and School Site Project in less than four years.

“A comparable project could easily take an average of eight years to complete,” said Jonathan Hutchinson, P.E., Engineering Manager at Alaska DOT&PF, Northern Region Rural Transportation Team. “Due to the urgency of the need to establish a safe and reliable means of evacuation for the community, the State of Alaska in partnership with the Community of Kivalina, local government, local stakeholders, regulatory agencies, and the selected contractor were aligned in their efforts to deliver the project efficiently and ultimately complete the project in an unprecedented amount of time.”

The new $43-million road, bridge, and causeway now keep the community safe in the face of weather emergencies; allow residents to more easily conduct traditional subsistence activities including accessing fishing sites; and provide access to a new school under construction that will serve as a full-service community emergency shelter.

Leeboy - Pavers/Asphalt
Your local LeeBoy dealer
Power Equipment Co

“The Kivalina Evacuation Road has added a security blanket for the tribal members of Kivalina,” said Millie Hawley, Kivalina Tribal Administrator. “In an event of a potential flood due to an ocean storm surge on the small barrier island of Kivalina, the tribal members of Kivalina can use the Kivalina Evacuation Road to escape to higher ground, thus saving lives.”

“The Kivalina Evacuation Road Project has been a success for the people of Kivalina,” said John Chase, former NWAB Planning Administrator. “The project has provided safety for residents and opportunities for community growth.”

The new road, bridge, and causeway were designed to accommodate all modes of transportation for all seasons, and residents began using the new route immediately after opening.

Next Phase of the Competition
The three highest-scoring projects from each regional America’s Transportation Awards competition (a total of 12 projects) will continue on to compete for the national Grand Prize and the People’s Choice Award. The 12 finalists will be announced and online voting for the People’s Choice Award will begin in September. In October, AASHTO will reveal the winners for the Grand Prize and the People’s Choice Award at its 2022 Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.
Takeuchi Mfg Ltd
Your local Takeuchi Mfg Ltd dealer
Power Equipment Co
Gomaco
Your local Gomaco dealer
Ring Power Corporation
Leeboy - Pavers/Asphalt
Your local LeeBoy dealer
Power Equipment Co