SR 519 project wins a trophy case full of awards

by guest blogger Greg Phipps

The completed project
The SR 519 Project Team
David Sowers with the project awards
If you’ve been to an game or event at Seattle’s stadiums in the last year, there’s a good chance you got there by car, foot or bike using some part of our State Route 519 Intermodal Access project.  If you drove in on I-5 or I-90 you likely took the new exit to Edgar Martinez Drive S. If you took the train or bus, you probably walked to Safeco Field using the S. Royal Brougham Way Bridge. You may have strolled through one of the new plazas, rode in one of the new bike lanes, or used one of the new turn lanes at First and Atlantic.  

We can now proudly say that you have been driving, biking or walking on a multiple award-winning blockbuster of a project – the transportation infrastructure equivalent of Ben Hur, Titanic or Lord of the Rings (the films that share the record for most Academy Awards, with 11 each). This year the SR 519 project team has earned nine construction and engineering awards and will hear about a possible tenth award later this summer.  Impressively, two of the nine awards were at the national level.

SR 519 Project Manager David Sowers said the awards would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the WSDOT team that worked on the project during design and construction. Most of the members of that team are bringing their award-winning talents to various elements of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program. That includes Sowers, who is the Geotechnical and Utility Engineer for the proposed SR 99 Bored Tunnel.

But a year later Sowers has one last problem to solve on the SR 519 project.  Sure, it’s not as challenging as trying to build a large project sandwiched between two stadiums and split in half by one of the busiest freight crossings in the country, but he still hasn’t figured it out. What on earth does he do with nine awards? Buy a display case?  Put them on the window sill? Give them to members of the project team?  Right now they’re sitting unceremoniously on a bookcase in his office.  If you have any ideas, let us know. He could use the help. 

SR 519 project awards
  • American Public Works Association – National Project of the Year ($25 million to $75 million)
  • American Public Works Association  – Washington Chapter Project of the Year
  • Precast/Pre-stressed Concrete Institute – National award for Best Bridge (76-150 foot-long spans) 
  • American Concrete Institute – Washington Chapter -- Excellence in Concrete Construction (Public Works) 
  • American Council of Engineering Companies – Washington Chapter -- Silver Award (Transportation)
  • Association of General Contractors  – Washington Chapter --  Project of the Year 
  • American Society of Civil Engineers – Seattle Chapter -- Best Transportation Project
  • American Society of Civil Engineers – Seattle Chapter -- Best Geotechnical Project
  • American Society of Civil Engineers – Seattle Chapter -- Best Structural Project
View the SR 519 photo collection on flickr.