ASCE announces engineering award finalists, previews 'Report Card'

From a water pumping station in Egypt to a dam in San Diego, 2005 OCEA finalists represent outstanding achievements in civil engineering spanning the globe and disciplines. Three projects were also chosen for consideration for the CERF Pankow Award. Meanwhile, the theme of the March 9 release of its 2005 Report Card on the nation's infrastructure is "America's Crumbling Infrastructure Eroding Quality of Life"...

RESTON, VA, March 1, 2005 -- Five finalists were named yesterday for the American Society of Civil Engineers' 2005 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement (OCEA) Award, three finalists were named for the 2005 Charles Pankow Award, sponsored by ASCE's Civil Engineering Research Foundation (CERF), and webcasting viewers were reminded of next week's release of the ASCE 2005 Report Card on the nation's infrastructure.

OCEA Award finalists span globe
The Mubarak Pumping Station in Toshka, Egpyt; the Olivenhain Dam and Reservoir in San Diego; the AirTrain JFK Light Rail System and the Time Warner Center, both in New York; and the Rion-Antirion Bridge in Greece are the finalists in the 2005 OCEA Award competition. This year's award winning project will be named at ASCE's 2005 Outstanding Projects and Leaders awards gala on April 13 at the Sheraton Premiere at Tysons Corner, Va.

Established in 1960, the OCEA program recognizes projects on the basis of their contribution to the well being of people and communities, resourcefulness in planning and design challenges, and innovations in materials and techniques. Selected from a group of 22 entries, the 2005 finalists are outstanding examples of how civil engineering can contribute to a community's economic success, improve residents' quality of life and realize a country's decades long dream. Previous winners include the relocation of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and the World Trade Center Towers.

"Every day, communities around the world face unique challenges," said ASCE president William P. Henry, P.E., F.ASCE. "This award celebrates the ingenuity of the solutions and the technical excellence, community benefit, artistry and innovation that define civil engineering."

Among the finalists, two were water-related:
-- Mubarak Pumping Station: In 1997, the Egyptian government made the bold decision to develop a new valley where agricultural and industrial communities could be developed in the country's southwestern desert. A key element of the development - known as the Toshka Project - the Mubarak Pumping Station pumps water from Lake Nasser, which is then transported by way of a manmade river through the valley transforming 588,000 acres of desert into agricultural land capable of sustaining high value fruit and vegetable crops.
When the Toshka Project is completed in 2020, the valley will become home to more than three million residents and will increase Egypt's habitable land by ten percent.

With a discharge capacity of 1.2 million cubic meters per hour, the Mubarak Pumping Station is one of the largest in the world. The project's innovative design included a pump-house completely surrounded by water, resembling an island in a lake. This design, coupled with an open channel instead of a feeder canal and the elimination of a large concrete suction basin, reduced the overall size of the pump-house and both initial and maintenance costs.

-- Olivenhain Dam and Reservoir: Launched as a part of San Diego's Emergency Storage Project, this $200 million dam is the tallest roller-compacted concrete dam in the United States, and the first in California. The dam was designed to withstand up to a 7.25 magnitude earthquake, and to remain operational during an emergency. Previously, San Diego could not store enough water to meet the region's needs if an interruption occurred. The 18,000 acre-foot emergency water supply stored in the Olivenhain Reservoir is available to serve about 3 million residents and businesses.

The dam has many unique design features including a curvilinear downstream face to optimize structural performance and a smoothly varying foundation to eliminate sharp offsets that could cause cracking during an earthquake. Also, its innovative foundation shaping blocks are the largest in the world, and optimize the dam's lateral performance during an earthquake by minimizing differential movement between monolithic sections.

At 318 feet tall and 2,570 feet long, the dam utilized innovative planning, design, construction, environmental and communication techniques. The first dam built in California in 50 years, it set new standards for development of water storage facilities in an urban area, while minimizing adverse impacts on the environment and local communities.

For more information on the other finalists or the awards event, visit the ASCE website: www.asce.org.

Pankow award finalists focus on innovation
Meanwhile, three finalists for the 2005 Charles Pankow award, which will also be awarded at the April 13 awards gala, were projects on: "Cost Effective Restoration & Protection of Groundwater Resources from MTBE Pollution"; "Coupled Truss Walls with Damped Link Elements"; and "ElectroOsmotic Pulse Technology for Prevention of Water Intrusion in Tunnels and Concrete Civil Works Structures." The ASCE-CERF award celebrates innovative collaboration in the design and construction industry.

The MTBE finalist involved an industry-academic-government collaboration between Arizona State University, the U.S. Navy and Shell Global Solutions. It was the first to develop and demonstrate a technology that can be used for both MTBE (methyl-tertiary butyl ether) pollution prevention and restoration of MTBE-affected aquifers. This new technology has proven more cost-effective than conventional methods, has minimal maintenance and energy requirements and eliminates the waste streams typically associated with conventional technologies.

The Charles Pankow Award for Innovation was created in 1996 to recognize the contribution of organizations working collaboratively to demonstrate innovative approaches to design, materials use or the construction process. As a leader in the industry for nearly 50 years, Pankow was instrumental in launching CERF, serving as an initial board member and as chairman of the New Century Partnership.

2005 Infrastructure Report Card
In addition, ASCE will release March 9 its 2005 Report Card for America's Infrastructure. ASCE's 2005 report card updates a full report last given in 2001 and will examine trends affecting the nation's infrastructure -- including drinking water, wastewater, dams, solid waste, hazardous waste, navigable waterways, security and energy. The 2001 report gave the country an overall grade of D+ in 2001.

Speakers Wednesday include ASCE president William P. Henry, P.E., and executive director Patrick J. Natale, P.E.; Akron, Ohio, Mayor Donald L. Plusquellic, who's also president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors; and Tom Trice, American Public Works Association president and deputy city manager for Royal Oak, Mich. The event is at 10:30 a.m. (EST) in the Murrow Room of the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The news conference will be broadcast live online at www.ConnectLive.com/events/asce0305.

Founded in 1852, ASCE represented more than 137,000 civil engineers worldwide, and is America's oldest national engineering society. ASCE celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2002.

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