By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

The Washington State Department of Transportation’s State Route 99 Tunnel Project, which replaced the dilapidated and earthquake prone Alaskan Way Viaduct in downtown Seattle, has received the Grand Prize in the 2020 America’s Transportation Awards contest. Designed by ARTBA member HNTB, the $3.3 billion project installed a 2-mile long tunnel, designed to withstand a 9.0 magnitude earthquake. Washington State DOT completed the work last year. 

Sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, AAA, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the 13th annual America’s Transportation Awards competition evaluated projects in three categories: Quality of Life/Community Development; Best Use of Technology & Innovation; and Operations Excellence. Overall, 36 state DOTs nominated 79 projects in four regional contests, with the four highest-scoring projects in each region comprising the top 12 national-level finalists that battled for two national prizes.

The Georgia Department of Transportation’s Columbus Riverwalk project, which is providing residents with a safe place for biking, jogging and walking, received the highest number of online votes in the competition, earning it the People’s Choice award. The 22-mile, $10 million project is spurring economic development in Uptown Columbus by using a series of bridges, raised passageways and a walking trail to link the community to public transit, schools and universities.

The American Institute of Architects Washington Council in October honored the tunnel project with its 2020 AIA WA Civic Design Awards. The project was the cover story of the January/February 2018 issue of ARTBA’s Transportation Builder magazine, starting on page 20.

See more stories about transportation design and construction industry technology and innovation in ARTBA’s “Smart Design & Construction” supplement.