The Florida Department of Transportation took home top honors at the 2015 America’s Transportation Awards on Sunday.
FDOT beat out the competition of 48 transportation projects from 24 states and won the Grand Prize for the state’s $670 million Port of Miami Tunnel Project, according to American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. But the accolades kept coming for FDOT, as the department’s $1.2 billion I-595 Corridor Improvement project received more than 56,000 online votes and won the People’s Choice Award.
“The America’s Transportation Awards competition shines a national spotlight on some of the outstanding projects that are making travel safer and better across the country,” AASHTO executive director Bud Wright said. “The Florida Department of Transportation is taking home the Grand Prize and the People’s Choice Award; however the American people are also winners because their communities are benefitting from the four dozen projects nominated this year.”
FDOT’s two winners were among 10 finalists up for the Grand Prize and People’s Choice Award at the AASHTO’s annual meeting in Chicago this weekend where AASHTO, AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced the winner. The judges chose the winner of the Grand Prize based on the criteria of “Under Budget,” “Best Use of Innovation” and “Quality of Life/Community Development.”
“It is important to recognize the innovative and resourceful transportation infrastructure projects being done across the country, which are crucial to growing our nation’s economy. The Chamber is proud to highlight the Florida Department of Transportation’s Port of Miami Tunnel, an initiative which not only improves the lives of those living and working in the Miami area, but also drives economic growth and development by providing infrastructure that supports commerce,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce senior vice president of Congressional Affairs Jack Howard said.
The finalists at Sunday’s ceremony were made up of winners from the regional America’s Transportation Awards announced earlier in the year. Five states took home honors in the Mid America regional, six at the Southeastern regional, seven in the Western regional and three in the Northeast regional. The 10 projects with the highest overall score moved on to the national competition.
FDOT’s Grand Prize-winning project created a tunnel between the Port of Miami and the interstate highway system to ease the traffic in downtown Miami. The tunnel was bored through limestone and coralline formation to create the largest soft ground bored tunnel on the continent.
The I-595 Corridor Improvement Project also helped relieve traffic in the South Florida area. The public-private partnership, design and build teams made a multimodal transportation network along the highway with express lanes, express bus service and a bike and pedestrian greenway.
“America’s Transportation Awards showcases transportation innovation that is occurring across the country. These investments will ultimately improve safety and mobility and they underscore the importance of investing in transportation infrastructure to meet the demands of a growing national economy,” AAA’s Jill Ingrassia said.
FDOT was awarded $10,000 – $20,000 for each award to be donated to its choice of charity or transportation-related scholarship.