Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award and Award of Merit for 2001

American Society of Civil Engineers

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 2001, Vol. 71, Issue 7, Pg. 75-75

Document Type: Feature article


The outstanding civil engineering achievement award (OCEA) recognizes civil engineering projects that contribute to community well-being, demonstrate resourcefulness in planning and solving design challenges, and use innovative construction methods. The winning projects this year were selected from the 17 projects nominated by ASCE District Directors across the United States. The OCEA designation was awarded to the Whittier Access Project, an innovative solution to a unique problem: access to the town of Whittier, Alaska, had been available only by railway, so the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities decided to retrofit the only existing tunnel so it can be used by both rail and motor vehicles. The $80-million Whittier Access Project called for rail track to be embedded in 1,800 precast-concrete panels that formed the floor of the retrofitted tunnel. The panels, which form the driving surface, were specially formulated to stand up to winter temperatures in Alaska. The centerline of the highway is slightly offset from that of the rail line so that vehicles do not ride on the track, and traffic is computer controlled to ensure that trains and motor vehicles are not in the tunnel at the same time. The OCEA Award of Merit was awarded to Houston's Enron Field, which features a double-track retractable roof that allows grass to grow on the playing field while offering protection from rain and harsh weather. The roof spans 500 ft (152 m) and is designed to withstand a hurricane of category 5. Its computerized retraction system recognizes strong winds and adjusts the roof movement to keep the trusses steady. The project was completed in a record 26 months, thanks to simultaneous construction of the roof and the seating areas.

Subject Headings: Rail transportation | Project management | Roofs | Awards and prizes | Vehicles | Tunnels | Railroad trains

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