Reston, Va. — The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recently announced the finalists for its 2016 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 2016 OCEA finalists are:

• Dragon Bridge (Da Nang, Vietnam) – Linking Da Nang, one of Vietnam’s principal port cities, with the area’s developing eastern sectors and the UNESCO town of Hoi An, this 666-meter arch-supported bridge features a low deck that allows cross-river traffic to flow seamlessly onto local roads without the need for raised approaches.  Designed by Louis Berger and Ammann & Whitney, the structure was modeled after a dragon, an iconic Vietnamese symbol representing power and nobility.  Since opening in March 2013, the bridge has raised Da Nang’s profile internationally, spawned increased tourism and captured media attention around the world. Dragon Bridge is illuminated at night by 15,000 LED lights and breathes fire and water on the weekends.   

• Interstate 25/Paseo Del Norte Interchange Reconstruction (Albuquerque, N.M.) – Designed to alleviate the growing traffic gridlock in Albuquerque’s I-25/Paseo del Norte corridor, this fully optimized interchange reconstruction minimized right-of-way needs, eliminated impacts to a nearby landfill, reduced bridge areas for future maintenance, improved safety and enhanced pedestrian and bicycle mobility, all while drastically improving and enhancing road operations. The design-build team of Kiewit New Mexico (KNM) and Bohannan Huston, Inc. (BHI) also reduced the project’s environmental footprint and minimized noise to a nearby residential community by salvaging or reusing much of the existing infrastructure and building an extended noise wall to reduce impacts from traffic along I-25 and the Paso del Norte corridor.  Committed to an accelerated schedule, the $75 million project was completed under budget in just 16 months.    

• Lake Mead Intake No. 3 Shafts and Tunnel Project (Boulder City, Nev.) – With the Colorado Basin experiencing the worst drought in recorded history, this project was constructed to protect the Southern Nevada water system against potential inoperability of the existing intakes and to draw better quality water from the deeper elevation and location in Lake Mead. It serves a vital role in the region supplying 90 percent of the Las Vegas Valley’s water.  Vegas Tunnel Constructors employed a state-of-the art underwater blasting program, tunnel boring machine (TBM) and the innovative approach of installing a prefabricated intake structure under the lake bed to reduce the risks associated with construction under more than 300 feet of water. The project is the world’s deepest sub-aqueous tunnel and is recognized in the industry as one of the most risky underground projects ever undertaken.      

• Seismic Upgrade of Bay Division Pipeline Nos. 3 and 4 at Hayward Fault (Fremont, Calif.) –Amid an extremely volatile seismic zone with three active earthquake faults, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and its engineering team replaced two regional water pipelines that serve the San Francisco Bay area.  Using a complex system of pipes, joints and vaults that runs underneath a high traffic corridor and is capable of traveling 9 feet during a major seismic event, this $4.8 billion system ensures water delivery to 2.6 million people within 24 hours after a 7.1- magnitude earthquake.  The largest water infrastructure program in the nation, it supports the Bay area’s economic viability, health and safety and provides the redundancy needed to deliver a high-quality water supply to the region.        

• Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge (St. Louis, Mo.) – At the convergence of Interstates 55, 64 and 70, the Illinois and Missouri departments of transportation looked for a way to ease traffic congestion and improve safety for motorists.  The Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge project provided just the solution. Constructed in multiple phases to alleviate budget concerns and minimize impact to motorists, the new bridge removed one of the three interstate crossings from the Poplar Street Bridge, thereby drastically reducing traffic.  The first mega project to be designed and constructed in this manner, the bridge was also built with future growth in mind, and thanks to staggered contract bidding, was completed $60 million under budget. 

 • Tanana River Bridge (Salcha, Alaska) – The key component in a four-phase project undertaken by the Alaska Railroad Corp., this bridge will expand the organization’s northern rail line and connect the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Pacific Area Range Complex near Salcha, Alaska with the rest of the state. While constructing the 20-span, 3,000-foot-long crossing over the Tanana River, design team Hanson Professional Services endured a number of challenges, including extreme temperatures, an unpredictable river, flooding, ice flows, log jams and scours, geotechnical and seismic issues and the logistics of transporting 80 girders more than 300 miles to the project site. As Alaska’s longest roadway and railway bridge, it will improve commercial freight and passenger rail service as well as travel to the military’s training areas.           

The winner of the 2016 OCEA Award will be announced at the Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Gala, March 17, 2016, in Arlington, Va.