Projects of the Year 2006

Awards were given in three categories: water, transportation, and wastewater.


Water Project of the Year

Owner: City of St Helens

Engineer: HDR

Contractor: Contractors Inc.

The Project of the Year award for water systems was given to the City of St. Helens for the construction of a new 6 million gallon per day membrane water treatment plant that is expandable to 10 MGD. There were several elements of the project where the project team went beyond the normal scope of such a project.

City officials had the foresight to purchase land for a treatment plant in 1993, well before the city was ever required to treat the water. When circumstances changed and a treatment plant was required, the city was ready to move forward.

The city chose to be a good neighbor. While the site was within the City of St. Helens, it is physically closer to developed land in Columbia City. Even though St. Helens officials did not have to abide by Columbia City land use planning or citizen requests, they did so. Modification to the project with regard to design for noise impacts, visual impacts and local street improvements were incorporated. Construction impacts with regard to site access and potential damage to homes close to the site were dealt with proactively.

The treatment process included an extra bank of membrane filters to reduce the backwash water from 10% to 1%. This was done for water conservation and to reduce impacts to the wastewater system.

Methods were implemented to expedite the construction. This included pre-purchase of major equipment items with special contract conditions for transfer of the equipment to the contractor. It also included performing the site work prior to final design was completed. This allowed the main contractor to enter a “shovel ready” site. It also allowed for local contractors to work on the project.

The city fostered a team relationship that permeated the project including the city council, city staff, design engineer and contractor.


Transportation Project of the Year

Owner: Washington County

Design Engineer: Washington County

Primary Consultant: David Evans and Associates

Contractor: Wildish Standard Paving Company

The Project of the Year award for transportation was given to Washington County for the Phillip Harris Bridge Replacement Project. Due to the heavy use of the bridge, the project needed to be expedited, and the project team was able to do this despite significant complications.

Permits were required from 19 agencies including the Federal Highway Administration, Army Corps of Engineers, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Oregon department of State Lands, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Services, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and others.

The Tualatin River Watershed Council presented the county with an award for environmental stewardship for this project. Efforts were taken to prevent swallows nesting in the existing bridge prior to demolition, containment platforms for installed in the river, old pier remnants from 1934 were removed from the river, 3.5 acres were purchased for an environmental easement, bat houses were installed, more than 13,000 plants were planted, and other measures were taken as well.

A nine-month construction project was completed in seven months due in part to the flexibility shown by the contractor. Construction procedures and sequences were adjusted to accommodate permitting constraints that came to light after the construction began. Innovative technology was used in testing piles that expedited the schedule, and innovative concrete mixtures were developed to accommodate pouring the 400-foot deck in one pour.

The county set up an extensive public information program that included a web site, e-mail, regular mail, phone, signs, hand outs and press releases. The county had a policy that all e-mail and phone messages would be returned within 24 hours.


Wastewater Project of the Year

Owner: City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services

Engineer: Parsons Brinckerhoff

Contractor: Impregilo/S.A. Healy Joint Venture

The project of the year award for wastewater was given to the City of Portland for the West Side Combined Sewer Overflow project which included 18,000-feet of 14-foot diameter tunnel, 15,000-feet of 36- to 84-inch sewers and a 220 MGD pump station. There were significant technical issues to contend with such as:

The tunnel was constructed at depths ranging between 100 and 150 feet below the ground surface at water pressures up to 3 bars.

The pump station required a shaft that was 135-feet in diameter and 160-feet deep, one of the largest and deepest shafts excavated in saturated soft-ground conditions in the US.

Tunneling occurred between the footings of seven major bridges.

To contend with the technical issues as well as schedule and budget constraints the city chose to utilize a cost reimbursable fixed fee contract modeled after a construction manager/general contractor approach. This form of contract is now referenced in the U.S. tunneling industry as the “Portland Model.” This approach provided several benefits such as:

Creating a true partnership between the owner, engineer and contractor. Major changes during construction such as the relocation of the Operation and Maintenance Building were dealt with without generating change orders, and actually expedited construction.

Providing motivation to the contractor to complete the work as soon as possible.

Avoiding large cost disputes and reducing change orders.

Technical innovations were also employed such as the first use of large-diameter slurry mixshield tunnel boring machines in North America, one pass pre-cast segmental tunnel lining as well as a number of special techniques for shaft construction.

Community relations were also a large component of the project with a multitude of methods used from highly technical tools such as a project web and electronic kiosks to door-to-door visits.

All of these techniques enabled a four-year construction project to be completed on time and under budget.


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