2014 Georgia Transportation Summit Update Perhaps Georgia’s escalating transportation challenges inspired record attendance at the 2014 Transportation Summit in December, a prestigious event hosted by ACEC Georgia, the Georgia Chamber, Georgia Department of Transportation, and the Georgia Transportation Alliance. Nearly 700 people were on hand to applaud the 2014 GPTQ transportation project winners and hear remarks by elected officials and industry leaders including the Governor, Lt. Governor, Chairs of the Legislative Transportation Funding Committee, and the Commissioner of GDOT. The Summit included updates by the Joint Transportation Funding Study Committee and panel discussions regarding proposed legislation. Industry experts discussed Georgia’s growing aviation, railroad and port needs, urban mobility and connectivity challenges, and the economic benefits of strengthening the state’s status as a major transport/transit hub for national and international distribution. “I found the panel information relevant and useful,” commented Michael A. Thomas, Jr., a P.E. with Moffat & Nichol, who attended the Summit. “The discussion on funding, emphasized by the Governor and Lt. Governor, is of extreme importance to our industry, the quality of life for Georgians, and our state’s economic vitality. I was encouraged that the tide seems to be turning on creating new, sustainable transportation funding buckets in the future.” Keeping in mind the challenges – and the price tag – associated with expanding the state’s transportation infrastructure, GPTQ encourages engineering innovation. “[GPTQ] recognizes really good projects, ones that successfully address rural and/or urban issues, and are sensitive to public and environmental interests,” explained Jack Seibert, a Co-chair of GPTQ’s Preconstruction Awards Committee. “We encourage project owners to brag about their design teams, so others can bring these highcaliber firms to their table. It will help Georgians design an outstanding transportation system, one that remains efficient in the future.” THE GRAND PRIZE WINNER The City of Douglasville and the URS Corporation design team earned Grand Prize honors for the SR 92 Relocation & Widening, which significantly exceeded criteria in several award categories. The 5-year, 3.1-mile project will improve traffic flow, eliminate multiple atgrade railroad crossings, and increase pedestrian and vehicle safety through downtown Douglasville and SR 92. The project required development of a fast-track urban road design schedule and includes completion of complex bridge designs, innovative staging for construction, design approval from the railroads, and Public Interest Determination (PID) utility co-ordinations and approvals. It also incorporated community input. URS’s design team involved Douglasville’s citizens via public meetings, workshops, door-to-door communications and social media. Discussions were conducted in English and Spanish, engaging the business community and local school administrators to help with staging plans. The project even addressed concerns for the federally protected Indiana Bat, obtaining approvals by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the National Park Service and Fish & Wildlife without delaying the let date. SUBMITTING FOR 2015 GPTQ AWARDS While the Douglasville project certainly illustrates the potential for innovative development of a complex improvement effort, GPTQ encourages owners to submit transportation projects of all size and scope. “The award criteria recognizes creativity, quality, community value and project efficiency, not cost, and not just size alone,” explained Seibert. “Counties, cities, CID’s, engineering firms, project managers – we encourage any project owner who is proud of their recent transportation projects to submit for award consideration. This is an opportunity to showcase the best of what our region is achieving, so that we can inspire others to envision their own opportunities.”
Published by American Council of Engineering Companies of Georgia. View All Articles.
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