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Publication Number:      Date:  July/August 1999
Issue No: Vol. 63 No. 1
Date: July/August 1999


FHWA Presents The 1999 Environmental Excellence Award Winners

Going-to-the-Sun Road project
The Going-to-the-Sun Road project was recognized for excellence in historical resources. The retaining wall of this road had been strengthened and rehabilitated.

This article was adapted from information provided by the Federal Highway Administration's Office of Planning and Environment.

The Environmental Excellence Awards Program, which began in 1995, is a biennial program developed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The awards recognize partners, projects, and processes that have met growing transportation demands while protecting and enhancing the environment. FHWA presented the 13 winners of the 1999 Environmental Excellence Awards at a ceremony attended by FHWA Administrator Kenneth Wykle and FHWA Deputy Administrator Gloria Jeff held on Earth Day 1999.

The award recipients were from 11 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington. Florida and Colorado each had two winners.

The awards are selected by an independent panel. Judges received 121 nominations from 35 states and chose winners in 12 categories: Air Quality Improvement; Archaeological Resources; Community Livability; Environmental Leadership; Environmental Processes; Environmental Research; Historical Resources; Noise Abatement; Non-Motorized Transportation; Vegetation Management; Water Quality; and Wetlands and Other Ecosystems. (The panel chose two winners in the category for Wetlands and Other Ecosystems.)

The Washington Department of Transportation routinely cuts or sprays vegetation to preserve vehicle recovery zones and sign visibility along roadways.

The judges for the awards were James S. Bedwell, chief landscape architect, Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.; Terrell Munson, chemistry teacher, Cardozo Senior High School, Washington, D.C.; Fred Lash, chair, Environment Section, Public Relations Society of America, Washington, D.C.; and Roy Kienitz, executive director, Surface Transportation Policy Project, Washington, D.C.

Elementary school students at an environmental learning center.
Here, elementary school students plant vegetation at an environmental learning center.

Projects in West Virginia and Rhode Island each won honorable mentions. The Fayette Station Bridge project in West Virginia received an honorable mention in the category of Historical Resources. The project involved a reconstructed historic bridge, which is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

In Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation worked with residents and agencies to design, relocate, and restore the last remaining Stonington Railroad depot. This earned them an honorable mention.

These FHWA awards highlight outstanding environmental leadership, innovative processes and cooperative partnerships.

FHWA 1999 Environmental Excellence Award Winners

Category Description
Excellence in Air Quality Improvement The HOP and the SKIP Transit Services, Boulder, Colo. Two easy-access shuttle services are helping to relieve congestion and clean the air in Boulder, Colo. A 1998 survey indicated that the HOP and SKIP would reduce vehicle-miles traveled in 1998 by 3.1 million.
Excellence in Archaeological Resources Archaeological Investigation at Eden House, North Carolina. This project shows how effective planning and cooperation can preserve an outstanding collection of archaeological artifacts - and could lead to increased local enthusiasm for heritage tourism.
Excellence in Community Livability Long Beach Bikestation, Long Beach, Calif. The Long Beach Bikestation is a unique public transit facility that actually functions as a community hub. The public can obtain information about bicycle advocacy, transit, and community events.
Excellence in Environmental Leadership Leroy Irwin, Florida. Leroy Irwin manages the Florida Department of Transportation's environmental programs. This award acknowledges his distinguished leadership during a 28-year career.
Excellence in Environmental Processes Charlotte County-Punta Gorda Metropolitan Planning Organization, Florida. By working closely with the public, county planners were able provide a comprehensive long-range land-use and transportation plan for the county.
Excellence in Environmental Research Elements of the Houston-Galveston Area Council's Air Quality Program, Texas. Researching how the public feels toward ozone, commuter options, and proper vehicle maintenance led to a successful public awareness campaign. As a result, METRO's ridership increased drastically.
Excellence in Historical Resources Going-to-the-Sun Road, Logan Pass Section, Montana. Workers used state-of-the-art engineering to correct serious damage to this national historic landmark. The road was repaired without damaging its historical character.
Excellence in Noise Abatement Lafayette Bypass, Colorado. The Colorado Department of Transportation was able to mitigate noise levels while preserving the community's character by involving the public in their planning and coordination of the project.
Excellence in Non-Motorized Transportation New York City Bicycle Network Development Program, New York. For the first time in history, New York City released a comprehensive master plan for a 1448-kilometer, citywide bike network, which included detailed bicycling maps of the boroughs. As a result, the total number of miles bicyclists rode in on-street bike lanes increased by 88 percent in one year.
Excellence in Vegetation Management Wisconsin Department of Transportation Olympic Region Landscape 3R Program, Washington. Government employees, environmental organizations, community volunteers, and the Squaxin Island tribe worked together to protect the native trees. The groups salvaged and relocated existing trees that would be affected by highway construction and highway maintenance activities.
Excellence in Water Quality State Route 28 Water Quality Demonstration Project, Nevada. The Nevada Department of Transportation developed this program to preserve and protect Lake Tahoe's water quality. The four-year program resulted in the reduction of pollutants in the lake.
Excellence in Wetlands and Other Ecosystems State Route 87, Arizona. In the Tonto National Forest, project team members made a special effort to preserve the existing natural environment while improving State Route 87. In addition to widening the roadway, they stained new rock surfaces to match the color of the adjacent rock and roughened interior surfaces of box culverts to create a bat habitat.
Indian Lake Restoration - Blue Earth County Board, Mankato, Minn. When Blue Earth County began the construction of a bypass around the city of Mankato, they were required to mitigate impacts to wetlands either through creation or restoration. The resulting 48.6-hectare regional park that was created is an outstanding recreational and environmental resource.



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