California Engineering Projects Demonstrate Innovation, Ingenuity and Pursuit of Excellence

Projects as diverse as seismic safety on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the expansion of a wastewater treatment facility in Bakersfield and the extension of Los Angeles’ Metro Gold Line transit system are among this year’s Engineering Excellence Award winners announced today by the American Council of Engineering Companies of California (ACEC California). The EE Awards are bestowed every year to recognize excellence in engineering design. Projects are judged based on criteria such as technical complexity, uniqueness and originality, social and economic value and public awareness.

Last year, HDR Engineering took ACEC’s premier national honor, the Grand Conceptor award for its pioneering Advanced Energy Recovery System designed and installed at Oxnard, Calif.-based Gills Onions facility. The system converts onion waste such as peels, stalks and tops into biofuel which, in turn, powers the company’s adjacent processing plant.

This year’s California award winners are:

T.Y. Lin International and Moffat & Nichol received the highest honor, the Golden State Award, for a joint venture for the East Tie-In Structure, which is part of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Seismic Safety Projects. The Joint Venture of T.Y. Lin International/Moffat & Nichol was contracted by California Department of Transportation to design the 288 foot-long detour structure, a double deck steel truss, that was assembled 150 feet above ground and rolled into place over the course of a four-day long weekend This temporary detour sets the highest standard for engineering excellence and it marks an unprecedented feat of design engineering and is the most significant realignment of traffic to the Bay Bridge to date.

AECOM Technology Corporation/Washington Group International: An Honor Award goes to the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority for its Gold Line Eastside Extension Project. AECOM Technology Corporation, in joint venture with Washington Group International, was the designer for this eight-station, 6-mile-long light rail project that brought rapid transit service to East Los Angeles. Combining the latest technology with unique, community-inspired art at each station, Metro’s first design-build project was hugely successful. Following 4 million work hours without a lost-time injury, the project came in on schedule, on budget, and with zero claims.

Carollo Engineers, Inc.: An Honor Award goes to Carollo Engineers, Inc., for the Middle River Intake Project. The Contra Costa Water District selected Carollo to serve as program manager for the planning, design, and construction of this $100 million project to improve delivered water quality for its 550,000 customers. The project, which included a setback levee, 250-cfs intake and pump station, and conveyance pipeline and tunnel, featured several innovative design and construction strategies. These included a state-of-the-art intake and pump station that balances intake flow and protects Delta fisheries, a detailed construction sequencing plan that allowed key project elements to be constructed within two critical in-water work windows, and creative construction techniques to build a conveyance pipeline and 90-foot-deep microtunnel in difficult soil conditions. The resulting project, which was completed on schedule and within budget, improves operational flexibility and provides a safe and reliable source of drinking water to Contra Costa Water District’s customers for years to come.

Degenkolb Engineers: An Honor Award goes to Degenkolb Engineers for The Bowls Project. Inspired by ancient Babylonian amulets known as “demon bowls,” The Bowls Project is a unique multimedia art installation in which antiquity meets high-tech seismic design. It consists of 2 domes that sit atop a state-of-the-art base-isolated platform that Degenkolb Engineers designed for seismic safety. The project team worked tirelessly and donated time and material on this challenging pro bono project to ensure that it made its opening day. During its limited stay at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, thousands will enjoy the workshops and musical performances that take place inside the domes.

Malcolm Pirnie : An Honor Award is presented to Malcolm Pirnie for the Alvarado Water Treatment Plant Ozone Project. For over a decade Malcolm Pirnie has been the engineer for the City of San Diego to upgrade its 60-year-old Alvarado water treatment plant and expand its capacity from 120 to 200 million gallons a day. In this last expansion phase, state-of-the-art ozonation facilities replaced chlorine as the primary disinfectant enabling the plant to utilize changing blends of source waters and continue to meet federal drinking water regulations, and ultimately supplying some 650,000 customers with safer and better tasting drinking water. Innovative approaches associated with pumping, disinfection transitions during power failures and, the ozone production control system won the enthusiastic support of plant operators and regulators.

Parsons : An Honor Award goes to Parsons Corporation for the Bakersfield Wastewater Treatment Plant 3 Upgrade and Expansion, addressing capacity (16 mgd to 32 mgd) and renewable energy and regulatory requirements including nitrogen removal for groundwater recharge. Prior to the upgrades, Plant 3 continuously violated its effluent discharge permit. As the design engineer, Parsons incorporated several innovative, out-of-the-box process modifications, as well as cost- and energy-saving ideas such as an extensive and creative odor control for the zero odor plant, conversion of old secondary clarifiers to covered primary clarifiers, an integrated renewable energy system with biomass energy and PV solar energy for significant GHG reduction, and LEED-type buildings. This sustainable design earned more than $3.5 million in rebates/grants from PG&E and ARRA. PG&E estimates an annual operating cost savings of $556,000 for the upgraded plant. Completed on time with no recordable OSHA accidents, Plant 3 has outperformed all regulatory requirements.

Stantec Consulting Services Inc. : An Honor Award goes to Stantec for their work on the research Support Facility, National renewable energy Laboratory in golden, Colorado. Now the nation’s largest building designed to achieve net-zero energy use—this 222,000 square-foot facility allows its 800 occupants to consume only the amount of energy generated by the renewable power on and near the building. An inspired and bold vision brought to reality by a progressive and dedicated Design-Build team, this building has set a truly remarkable standard and example for the industry.

“The projects receiving awards this year highlight some of the innovative and experienced approaches taken by private sector companies to solve engineering challenges in both the private and public sectors in California,,” said Paul Meyer, executive director of ACEC-California.

The ACEC California award winners will be honored at a banquet to be held February 1, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency in Sacramento. The Golden State winners will be entered into the national awards for the organization, which will be announced in April.

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