Wilmington, Del. — Two New Jersey Department of Transportation projects are the first regional winners in the 2015 America's Transportation Awards competition. The announcement was made at the 2015 Northeast Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials annual meeting. The projects won in the Best Use of Innovation and the Quality of Life/Economic Development categories.

"These awards recognize the many ways state DOTs are successfully completing projects to enhance Americans' quality of life and provide for a vibrant economy," said John Cox, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials President and Director of the Wyoming Department of Transportation.

The America's Transportation Awards — co-sponsored by AASHTO, AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — annually recognizes the best of America's transportation projects in four regional competitions. States can enter projects in three categories: Under Budget, Best Use of Innovation, and Quality of Life/Community Development. The 10 regional winners with the highest overall scores will compete for the National Grand Prize and the People's Choice Award and $10,000 prizes to be given by the winners to a transportation-related charity or scholarship program.

New Jersey DOT's $3.4 million Route 46 over Musconetcong River project won for Best Use of Innovation (http://americastransportationawards.org/2015-entries/nasto/route-46-over-musconetcong-river). The project replaced a 90-year-old bridge using an accelerated bridge construction method with pre-fabricated pieces to significantly reduce construction time and traffic disruption.

New Jersey DOT's $8.1 million US 322 Bridge/Mullica Hill Pond Dam project won for Quality of Life/Community Development (http://americastransportationawards.org/2015-entries/nasto/us-322-bridgemullica-hill-pond-dam-over-raccoon-creek). The project replaced a damn and bridge damaged by Hurricane Irene. The new structure protects the region from flooding and enhances pedestrian access.

Maryland Department of Transportation's State Highway Administration received an honorable mention in the Best Use of Innovation Category (http://americastransportationawards.org/2015-entries/nasto/i-70-over-conococheague-creek).

Winners in the three remaining regional competitions will be announced throughout the summer. The top two national winners will be announced in September at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in Chicago. Learn more about the projects and the competition at AmericasTransportationAwards.org

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