Four Sound Transit projects honored for excellence in engineering, research, design

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The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) recently recognized four Sound Transit projects as outstanding examples of transportation engineering and civil engineering research and planning.

Gold awards were given to Parsons Brinckerhoff for its work on the Sound Transit 2 Plan, and to Hatch Mott MacDonald for its work on the design and engineering of the Link light rail segment between South Boeing Access Road and South 154th Street. These projects were submitted for the ACEC’s national competition; and as winners at the ACEC state level, they will now move on to compete at the national level.

The Sound Transit 2 Plan and the work of Parsons Brinckerhoff were recognized for a number of unique planning methods and research, including a first-of-a-kind risk assessment at the planning stage to validate cost estimates; a sustainability assessment on climate change and other environmental benefits; and the use of state-of-the-art ridership forecasting and benefit-cost analysis. Over the course of four years, Sound Transit and Parsons Brinckerhoff developed a high capacity transit system plan that includes 36 miles of expanded light rail and significant enhancements to regional express bus and commuter rail service. The 15-year, $17.8-billion program was approved by voters in November 2008.

The work of Hatch Mott MacDonald on the Link light rail segment was noted for meeting the challenges of an alignment that parallels, crosses over, and is constrained by the location of Interstate 5, state highways, major urban arterials, mainlines of two railroads, a river, steep terrain and wetlands. Hatch Mott MacDonald’s value engineering study at the beginning of the final design effort identified a number of significant changes that saved $23 million in costs and eight months of construction time.

In the local competition category, two bronze awards were given for Sound Transit projects. HDR, Inc. was recognized for its work on the South Everett Freeway Station, and David Evans and Associates, Inc. was recognized for its contributions to the Totem Lake Freeway Station.

The local chapter of the ACEC annually reviews local engineering projects for excellence in areas including research, innovation, sustainability and complexity. More information about the ACEC 2009 Engineering Excellence Awards and winners is available at