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Gannett Fleming earns top honors in 2013 ACEC Arizona Engineering Excellence Awards

PHOENIX — Gannett Fleming was recognized with two awards in the American Council of Engineering Companies of Arizona’s (ACEC AZ) 33rd Annual Engineering Excellence Awards competition. The firm’s work on the new PHX Sky Train automated people mover system was honored with the Judges Choice Award, the competition’s highest honor, as well as the Clifford C. Sawyer Achievement Award. The Clifford C. Sawyer Achievement Award is a tribute to excellence in communication and promotion of engineering achievements.

Located at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, the 1.92-mile-long PHX Sky Train automated people mover system includes three elevated passenger stations, and links the Phoenix region’s 44th Street Valley Metro light rail station with the airport’s economy parking area and the 88-gate Terminal 4. This initial system is part of a larger program to connect the remainder of the terminals by 2015 and ultimately extend to the airport’s rental car center.

For Stage 1, Gannett Fleming served as the fixed facilities design engineer. Kimley-Horn & Associates served as civil engineer; Dinter Engineering provided mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering services; and HOK provided architectural design services. Hensel Phelps served as construction manager.

The new PHX Sky Train automated people mover system allows one of the country’s busiest airports to alleviate roadway congestion and enhance customer service while serving as a prototype for airports seeking modern transit solutions. The layout and operation of the system is designed to be intuitive and simple, creating a high level of service and convenience for passengers with facilities that are well integrated into the airport and the surrounding community.

Overcoming challenging site constraints, the elevated people mover system weaves seamlessly through the airport’s 3,000-acre, three-runway grounds. The congested site required many innovative solutions. One major project obstacle was the location of Taxiway Romeo, an active taxiway that was directly in the guideway’s path. To provide the optimal alignment into the Terminal 4 Station, the guideway needed to cross over the taxiway. While the team first considered routing the system under the taxiway, this more expensive approach offered significant challenges, including a complex underground environment of utilities. Today, the guideway crosses over Taxiway Romeo. It is the world’s first mass transit bridge over an active taxiway.

The electrically powered automated PHX Sky Train is expected to reduce the airport’s greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 6,000 tons a year. The three stations will use 30 percent less power than established normal baselines. The project is LEED Gold Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the only LEED certified public transportation campus in the world.