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Washington, D.C. — Engineering News-Record recently named DC Water’s Blue Plains Tunnel as the 2016 Overall National Best of the Best Project. The project also received the Best Water/Wastewater Project award for 2016.

The Best of the Best Project Awards recognize the pinnacle of design and construction achievement among projects completed in the U.S. ENR selected the CH2M-designed Blue Plains Tunnel from over 700 projects nominated through regional competitions in 2016. ENR’s Mid-Atlantic Region also named the tunnel as its 2016 Best Project Overall award-winner.

CH2M served as the lead designer for the 24,000-foot long, 23-foot internal diameter combined sewer overflow tunnel project, completed in 2016. The Blue Plains Tunnel is part of DC Water’s $2.6 billion DC Clean Rivers Project to keep overflow from entering the Anacostia and Potomac rivers, and Rock Creek in Washington, DC. The Clean Rivers Project will reduce stormwater overflows and CSOs throughout the system by 96 percent annually and by 98 percent for the Anacostia River alone.

“Receiving ENR’s Overall Best of the Best honor is a tribute to tremendous work of DC Water, the contractor Traylor-Skanska-Jay Dee and the CH2M design team,” said CH2M Global Tunnels and Earth Engineering Practice Director, Mark Johnson. “The innovative design and construction techniques used on this project and the critical role it’s playing to help the city clean up its waterways are outstanding examples of what truly makes a project one of the best. We’re honored to add this distinction to our award-winning Blue Plains Tunnel.”

The tunnel features five constructed shafts, including a dewatering and screening shaft designed as a combined figure eight diaphragm wall structure that reaches between 180 and 198 feet below ground. Their unique design allowed the construction team to assemble the tunnel boring machine through both shafts and eliminated the need to construct a mined tunnel to connect the two shafts.

The Blue Plains Tunnel, deemed best overall in terms of teamwork, safety, overcoming challenges, innovation and quality, will be recognized at ENR’s Best of the Best Projects Awards Banquet on April 13, 2017 in New York City.

CH2M’s work with DC Water dates back over 30 years, and includes program management for the utility’s capital improvement program, leading its asset management program and various efforts at DC Water’s Blue Plains Advanced Water Treatment Plant, the largest advanced wastewater treatment facility in the world.

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