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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20590

Monday, September 16, 2002
Contact: Lori Irving
Tel.: 202-366-0660
FHWA 38-02

FHWA Gives Environmental Award to Iowa for Innovative Bridge Project

STEAMBOAT ROCK, IA-Federal Highway Administrator Mary E. Peters today announced that the Iowa Department of Transportation will receive the Administrator's Environmental Quality Award for its work on the Iowa River Bridge.

"On behalf of President Bush and Secretary Mineta, I want to congratulate the Iowa Department of Transportation and its many partners for developing and building the Iowa River Bridge," Peters said. "This project not only addresses important transportation needs but it preserves and protects the surrounding environment as well. It offers all of us an example of how transportation and environmental professionals can collaborate to provide a transportation facility to improve safety, mobility, and opportunities for economic development in an environmentally sensitive manner."

The award recognizes the project for demonstrating environmental sensitivity in its planning, design and construction. Also cited in the award are Jensen Construction Company of Des Moines, the general contractor, and Jensen's parent company, The Rasmussen Group.

"Iowa is honored to receive such a distinguished award," Iowa DOT Director Mark Wandro said. "The U.S. 20 bridge project is a great example of Iowa excellence in innovation and partnering for solutions."

The Iowa River Bridge is located in the Iowa River Greenbelt, a rare, remaining fragment of old-growth woodland that has survived the age of agriculture. The region features a steep river valley rich with traces of prehistoric cultures and remnants of 19th century farmsteads. It is also a roosting and wintering area for bald eagles, and it is a home for the rare northern monkshood plant and three endangered or threatened species of freshwater mussels.

The bridge is part of a 40-mile highway relocation project in the US 20 corridor. The bridge, scheduled to open to traffic in 2003, cost about $20 million. Of this amount, 15 to 20 percent of the costs can be directly attributed to design and detailing considerations added to accommodate the environmental concerns and site accessibility challenges.

The bridge has established new records in the United States for the longest total-launched steel bridge and the longest free cantilever. Iowa DOT also used innovative construction techniques to significantly reduce the physical impact on the floor of the Greenbelt Valley.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) served as technical consultant and provided financial support. The FHWA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation with headquarters in Washington, D.C. It has 2,700 employees, a field office in every state, and an annual budget of more than $30 billion.


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