This month has unparalleled significance for the International Right of Way Association (IRWA), whose 10,000 members play a vital role in overseeing the nation’s transportation, water and energy infrastructure. October is International Right of Way Month, and to acknowledge the industry’s role in bringing essential infrastructure projects to life,IRWA held a Project of the Year Competition.
The 2011 Project of the Year was awarded to the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport for their Voluntary Acquisition and Relocation Services (VARS) Program.
This ongoing community-based program is highly unique – its sole purpose is to improve the quality of life for residents living in proximity to the airport. With the support of federal funding, eligible residents are given the option to relocate, and if they elect to do so, the City of Phoenix will purchase their property and facilitate their move to a comparable dwelling of their choice outside the noise-impacted area.
“Our goal was to create a forward-thinking program that would serve our neighboring community,” said Danny Murphy, aviation director for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. “Working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration, we went far beyond what was required by the Uniform Relocation Act so that we could fully meet the needs of each participant. We are honored that the VARS Program has been named IRWA’s 2011 Project of the Year.”
A 30-year veteran of the real estate valuation industry, IRWA International President Randy A. Williams, SR/WA, MAI, FRICS is pleased to acknowledge the talented right of way professionals who plan and execute these essential quality-of-life projects. “These highly trained specialists have valuable skills that are crucial to a project’s success. From securing environmental clearances to negotiating property rights, their early involvement can work wonders in streamlining a project schedule, as well as delivering significant cost savings,” Randy said.
According to Mark Rieck, IRWA’s Executive Vice President, “Our role often goes unnoticed, yet the highways we drive on, the utilities in our homes and the cell towers that we rely on to communicate all exist because of the expertise that right of way professionals bring to these projects.”
In September, a panel of subject matter experts selected the Top 10 infrastructure projects (in alphabetical order):
- Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority Grade Separation Projects in California, submitted by Paragon Partners Ltd.
- DART Green Line Light Rail Expansion, submitted by the Dallas Area Rapid Transit
- IH-35 Corridor Expansion Project, submitted by the Texas Department of Transportation
- Interstate 69, Oakland City to Crane, Indiana, submitted by Parsons Brinckerhoff and O.R. Colan Associates
- Maine Power Reliability Program, submitted by Burns & McDonnell
- Newton Pike Extension Project, submitted by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
- Princess Anne Road/Kempsville Road/Witchduck Road Intersection Project, submitted by the City of Virginia Beach, VA, Department of Public Works/Real Estate
- Reconstruction of Monmouth County Bridge U-12, Allentown, New Jersey, submitted by Monmouth County Department of Public Works and Engineering
- Texas Drive – West Milham Ave. – 12th Street Roundabout Project, submitted by the City of Portage, Michigan
- Voluntary Acquisition and Relocation Services Program, submitted by the City of Phoenix Aviation Department