Sand Creek Byway honored for early completion

Already well honored and publicly decorated, the Sand Creek Byway construction project in Sandpoint earned a regional America’s Transportation Award this week and may qualify for consideration on the national level in October.

The largest single highway construction in Idaho history received the award for a medium-sized project that was completed ahead of schedule.

After more than 50 years of discussion and three construction seasons, the byway was completed and opened to the public in 2012.

Transportation projects that upgraded an international port of entry, rehabilitated a freight rail line vital to agricultural communities, and expanded a major highway years early and hundreds of millions of dollars under budget were among the recipients of top honors in the western regional America’s Transportation Awards competition.

“The entries we received this year encompass the broad scope of transportation projects completed every day by state transportation departments,” said Mike Lewis, AASHTO president and director of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation.

“The America’s Transportation Awards competition highlights just how state DOTs deliver quality projects with limited transportation dollars. It is through this competition that we honor these projects for excellent stewardship of our tax dollars and the incredible innovations they display.”

Now in its sixth year, the America’s Transportation Awards competition – sponsored by AASHTO, AAA, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce –  recognizes the best of America’s transportation projects in three main categories: Ahead of Schedule, Under Budget and Best Use of Innovation.

Nine transportation projects from six western states were nominated in those categories.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation joined ITD in the category for early completion, taking the top honor for projects of more than $100 million. The award was for its Interstate 40 Crosstown project.

In the" Under Budget" medium-sized category, California Department of Transportation was named winner for the Dumbarton Toll Bridge Seismic Retrofit.

The "Best Use of Innovation" category included three winners: Arizona Department of Transportation for its Nogales Mariposa Port of Entry project (small category – where projects must cost less than $25 million); South Dakota Department of Transportation for its MRC Railroad Rehabilitation project (medium category); and Utah Department of Transportation for its I-15 Corridor Expansion project (large category).

Winners have been named in three of the four regions throughout the nation, with the final group of winners to be announced later this month.

After that announcement, the 10 projects with the highest overall scores will be named and compete for the Grand Prize and People’s Choice Award.

The Grand Prize winner will be determined by a panel of transportation experts. The People's Choice Award goes to the transportation project that receives the most online votes from the public. Online voting begins Sept. 4. The winners of both awards will be announced at the AASHTO annual meeting this fall in Denver.

More information about each of these projects and the competition is available at

Published 8-9-13