MWH wins Illinois engineering award for dam project

MWH has received the top honor in the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Illinois' 36th annual engineering excellence awards competition for its work on the design of the Montgomery Point Lock and Dam project in Arkansas. Forty-eight Illinois firms were recognized for excellence in engineering before an audience of over 470 engineers, clients and government officials at an awards luncheon held on Feb. 2 at The Drake Hotel in Chicago...

Engineering firm recognized for innovative contributions to Montgomery Point Lock and Dam project in Arkansas that helped improve navigation between Mississippi and Arkansas Rivers.

CHICAGO, Feb. 19, 2007 -- MWH, a leading provider of environmental engineering, construction and strategic consulting services, today announced that it received the top honor in the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Illinois' 36th annual engineering excellence awards competition.

Forty-eight Illinois firms were recognized for excellence in engineering before an audience of over 470 engineers, clients and government officials at an awards luncheon held on Feb. 2 at The Drake Hotel in Chicago. The competition recognizes outstanding projects designed by private practice engineering firms who conduct business in Illinois.

The highest award, the Eminent Conceptor, was presented to MWH for its contribution to the design of the Montgomery Point Lock and Dam project located in Arkansas and owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) Little Rock District. The Eminent Conceptor Award recognizes an engineering achievement that demonstrates a high degree of merit and ingenuity, contributes to the advancement of the private practice of engineering and enhances the economic and social welfare of the general public. The Eminent Conceptor Award was chosen from 11 engineering firms who received honor awards.

"MWH introduced many innovations in the design of several critical features of the project, including the cofferdam, overflow spillway and hinged crest gates," said Chander Sehgal, vice president and project manager for MWH. "Working in close collaboration with the USACE, these innovations and many others helped to significantly improve navigation from the Mississippi River to the main stem of the Arkansas River."

The Montgomery Point Lock and Dam Project is a navigation project designed to improve navigation conditions in the White River Entrance Channel, located in Arkansas, while incorporating environmental features for protecting aquatic resources and reducing dredging activities. This channel constitutes the first segment (10 miles) of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System.

The project features a dam consisting of a unique 300-foot-wide gated navigable pass, a 200-foot-wide ungated overflow spillway, and a 110-foot-wide by 600-foot-long navigation lock. The navigable pass includes 10 hydraulically-operated hinged crest gates placed side by side. All gates are normally submerged in the lowered position, allowing vessels to pass over them. As the downstream Mississippi River stages fall, the gates are raised to maintain minimum navigable depths upstream, and vessels pass through the lock. The project includes a unique dewatering structure for maintaining six navigable pass gates simultaneously and a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system for remote operation and monitoring of the facilities.

Judges for the 2007 Engineering Excellence Awards Competition were: Dr. Robert H. Dodds, Jr., Head, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois; Jan Grimes, Executive Director, Capital Development Board; Gary Loss, Deputy for Programs and Project Management, USACE Rock Island; Milt Sees, Director of Highways, Illinois Department of Transportation; Marvin Traylor, Director of Engineering and Research, Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association; Amy Walkenbach, Manager, Nonpoint Source Unit, Bureau of Water, IEPA; John Yonan, Deputy Commissioner, Division of Engineering, Chicago Department of Transportation.

MWH's dam and hydropower services were developed and made popular by Harza Engineering Company, a firm with deep roots in Chicago dating back to 1920. After merging with Harza Engineering in 2001, MWH continues to base the bulk of its dam and hydropower operations in Chicago, where more than 200 professionals are employed. The Chicago-based dam and hydropower group specializes in the design, development and operation of water resources projects -- dams, hydro projects and hydropower facilities -- around the world.

Previous ACEC-IL Eminent Conceptor awards won by MWH include the Guri Project in Venezuela (1986), TARP (Tunnel and Reservoir Plan) Project in Chicago (1985), and the Cornell Hydro Project in Wisconsin (1977). MWH also won Honor Awards for Fermilab's Neutrinos at Main Injector (NuMI) Project in 2005 and the TVA's South Holston Butterfly Valve Replacement Project in 1994, among others.

MWH is involved in several Chicago-area design projects including TARP related McCook and Thornton reservoirs, the Lockport Sluice Gates Rehabilitation Project and the Thornton Tollway Dam and Composite Reservoir Project.

With headquarters in Broomfield, CO, MWH (www.mwhglobal.com) is a private, employee-owned firm with more than 6,000 team members worldwide. The company provides water, wastewater, energy, natural resource, program management, consulting and construction services to industrial, municipal and government clients in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, India, Asia and the Pacific Rim.

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Also see: "Energy, water efficiency earn U.S. Air Force bases awards"

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