Wednesday, August 31, 2022

I-49 Connector Project Among Regional Winners in National Competition

August 31, 2022—For immediate release

I-49 Connector Project Among Regional Winners in National Competition

WASHINGTON—Seven state department of transportation projects in Arkansas (along with Missouri), Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia won regional awards in the 2022 America's Transportation Awards competition. The contest honored projects that benefit their communities in several ways, such as providing new pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure to connect to a widely used trail in Northern Virginia and improving safety and efficiency for drivers in Arkansas and Missouri along a busy interstate corridor, among many others.

Missouri Department of Transportation’s project in McDonald County was among the winners: the I-49 Missouri-Arkansas Connector completed the final five miles of Interstate 49 from Pineville to the Arkansas border on the Missouri side of the project. This included building two conventional bridges, one along northbound I-49 over southbound U.S. 71, and the second at Missouri Route 90 over I-49. In addition, a diamond interchange was built at Route 90 crossing I-49. The completed portion in Arkansas consists of 14.3 miles of 4 lane divided highway built to interstate standards that includes 4 new interchanges. The completion of this link finished a 290-mile section of I-49 and eliminated six stoplights.

"State DOTs are overwhelmingly focused on innovative solutions to address the transportation issues of today and tomorrow, meeting challenges involving climate change, equity, resiliency, and safety," said Jim Tymon, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. "The America's Transportation Awards program shows just how they're doing that. Whether on foot, in a vehicle, on two wheels, or by rail or transit, state DOTs are continuing to advance a safe, multimodal transportation system."

Sponsored by AASHTO, AAA, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the competition recognizes state DOTs and the projects they deliver to make communities better places to live, work, and play. Project nominations fall into one of three categories: Operations Excellence, Best Use of Technology & Innovation, and Quality of Life/Community Development.

All nominated projects will first compete on a regional level against projects of their own size: "Small" (projects costing up to $25 million), "Medium" (projects costing between $25 million and $200 million), and "Large" (projects costing more than $200 million).

In the Southern Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (SASHTO) region, nine states nominated 22 projects in the 2022 America's Transportation Awards contest. The following seven projects took home top regional honors:

· Virginia Department of Transportation — Chatham Bridge Rehabilitation and Shared Use Path Project (Quality of Life/Community Development, Small category)

· Virginia Department of Transportation — I-66 Inside the Beltway Eastbound Widening Project (Quality of Life/Community Development, Medium category)

· Arkansas Department of Transportation and Missouri Department of Transportation — Interstate 49 Missouri-Arkansas Connector (Quality of Life/Community Development, Large category)

· West Virginia Department of Transportation — Oakwood Drive RCUT Project (Operations Excellence, Small category)

· Georgia Department of Transportation — Talbotton Road Project: Capacity, Pedestrian and Transit Improvements (Operations Excellence, Medium category)

· Tennessee Department of Transportation — Hernando de Soto Bridge Emergency Repairs (Best Use of Technology & Innovation, Small category)

· South Carolina Department of Transportation — U.S. 21 over Harbor River Bridge Replacement Project (Best Use of Technology & Innovation, Medium category)

Now that all regional winners in the competition have been announced, the three highest scoring projects from each region will be named the "Top 12" on September 7 and will go on to compete for the top two national prizes in the 2022 America's Transportation Awards competition.

An independent panel of industry judges selects the Grand Prize winner, while the project receiving the highest number of online votes from the public earns the People's Choice Award.

AASHTO will reveal the winners of those top two prizes – each receiving $10,000 to donate to a charity or scholarship of their choice – at its 2022 annual meeting this October in Orlando.

MoDOT has won 12 regional ATA awards since 2010 and won the 2010 Grand Prize for The New I-64 project and the 2013 People’s Choice Award for the Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Program. The Southwest District was a 2021 Operations Excellence Regional Winner for the I-44 Project Bridge Rebuild project, and nominee for the 2018 Grand Prize for the Route 65: The Rebuild project.

AASHTO Transportation TV highlighted the 2022 SASHTO nominees and winners in a video available at this link: Visit to learn more about this year's SASHTO nominees.

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