Reston, Va. — The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) announced the finalists for its 2015 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award (OCEA). Each year, ASCE recognizes exemplary projects from around the world that contribute to the well-being of people and their communities, showcase the use of innovative materials and techniques, and demonstrate resourcefulness in the face of planning and design changes.

The 2015 OCEA finalists are:

Colton Crossing Flyover (Colton, Calif.) – With an average of 125 crossings daily, this rail-to-rail intersection located near Los Angeles is one of the busiest and most congested railroad crossings in the United States. Using a highly innovative approach, engineering firm HDR was able to eliminate a major traffic bottleneck by constructing an 8,150-foot flyover structure to take the Union Pacific Railroad’s east-west tracks 35 feet above the north-south tracks of the BNSF Railway. The resulting flyover has brought economic growth and improved efficiency to the nation’s two largest freight railroads as well as improved air quality and reduced noise for the local community of Colton.

East Span of San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (San Francisco and Oakland, Calif.) – More than 2,000 feet long and 258 feet wide, this new bridge span is the longest, single-tower, self-anchored suspension span (SAS) bridge in the world and the world’s widest bridge. Boasting the latest in bridge design and seismic engineering technologies, the $6.4 billion project supports 10 lanes of traffic and more than 300,000 vehicles per day. With its clean, sleek profile, the replacement bridge is both resilient and meets the aesthetic requirements of the local communities. It has become the State of California’s largest public works project to date.         

Echo Park Lake Rehabilitation Project (Los Angeles) – Designed as a drinking water reservoir in the 1860s, the water quality of this historic 13-acre lake in Los Angeles had degraded and was badly in need of rehabilitation. Black and Veatch Corporation restored the iconic lake by providing in-lake improvements transforming it into a sustainable stormwater treatment facility with an improved watershed. The bond-funded $45 million project met the objectives established by the California Regional Water Quality Board while enhancing the natural habitat and recreational space in the middle of Los Angeles.      

Ward County Water Supply Project (Monahans and Odessa, Texas) – Facing one of the worst droughts in West Texas history, The Colorado River Municipal Water District sought a solution to restore water to its three reservoirs, which were at risk of becoming completely dry. To address this crisis, engineering consultants DBS&A and Freese and Nichols, Inc., designed and constructed 21 groundwater wells, 65 miles of pipeline and four booster pump stations. The $100 million project, completed in less than 18 months, encountered and overcame many engineering challenges. They included producing water from an aquifer with highly variable water quality, installing pipelines through several miles of shifting sand dunes, labor and housing shortages related to the oil and gas boom in West Texas, acquiring easements and challenges obtaining environmental permits. The new water supply system was completed two weeks ahead of schedule and began pumping water to the area’s drought-stricken cities before the lakes went dry. 

Halley VI Antarctic Research Station (Brunt Ice Shelf, Antarctica) – Located on a 500-foot-thick floating ice shelf in the extreme environment of Antarctica, the Halley VI Antarctic Research Station run by the British Antarctic Survey is the world’s first permanently manned, fully relocatable facility created to study the Earth’s atmosphere. Designed by AECOM and Hugh Broughton Architects, the futuristic, $43 million research station is comprised of eight modules that sit atop ski-fitted, hydraulic legs designed to cope with rising snow. Technical and environmental challenges of the Halley VI were immense, including logistical issues, extreme cold, moving ice, narrow construction windows, environmental restrictions and tight financial constraints. Launched in February 2013, the research station is a state-of-the-art example of design, innovation and construction at its best.     

The winner of the 2015 OCEA Award will be announced at the Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Gala, March 26, 2015, in Arlington, Va.

Established by ASCE in 1960, previous OCEA winners have included the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Surge Barrier in New Orleans; Alvarado Water Treatment Plant Ozone Upgrade and Expansion Project in San Diego; the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Washington, D.C.; and the Golden Gate Bridge Seismic Retrofit in San Francisco.