The Hoover Dam Bypass/Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, in Boulder City, Nevada, was named the winner of the 2012 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award (OCEA Award) at this year’s Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) gala, which was held on March 22 in Arlington, Virginia, at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel.

Established in 1960, the OCEA Award recognizes a project that makes a significant contribution to both the civil engineering profession and society as a whole. Honoring an overall project rather than an individual, the award recognizes the contributions of many engineers. The OCEA Award winner is chosen by a jury, and the jury for the 2012 award met in July. The OCEA Award winner receives an OPAL award. ASCE established the OPAL awards in 1999 to annually celebrate the achievements and recognize the contributions of civil engineers as well as the outstanding civil engineering achievement.

The other OCEA finalists in this year’s competition were the Cherry Island Landfill Vertical Expansion Project, in Wilmington, Delaware; the Naciemiento Water Project, in San Luis Obispo, California; the U.S. 191 Colorado River Bridge, in Moab, Utah; and the Willamette River Combined Sewer Overflow Tunnel Program, in Portland, Oregon. (See “Five OCEA Finalists Chosen; OPAL Lifetime Achievement Honorees and Pankow and Michel Winners Named,” ASCE News, September 2011, pages 1, 7-11.)

The Hoover Dam Bypass/Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge soars 890 ft above the Colorado River and overlooks one of the nation’s greatest icons and assets: Hoover Dam. More than 40 years in the making, the bypass helps to protect the security of the historically important dam by removing through traffic from U.S. 93, thereby reducing the vulnerability of the dam to a terrorist attack and safeguarding an important supply of water and the most sustainable supply source of electricity for the entire Southwest.

The structure of the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge is as grand as its effect on safety, security, and economic health. The 1,900 ft crossing is the centerpiece of the project, which included 3.5 mi of new approach roadways on both sides of the river and seven other bridges. The structure is the highest and longest arched concrete bridge in the Western Hemisphere and features the world’s tallest precast-concrete columns. The innovative hybrid structure is designed to complement the dam with the high-performance concrete arch while limiting the load demands with a modern steel suspension. It is the first steel and concrete hybrid arch bridge to be constructed in the United States.

The project also emphasized environmental and cultural stewardship. For example, highway underpasses were built for endangered desert bighorn sheep, native plants in the construction corridor were preserved and replaced, and Native American cultural properties adjacent to the site were protected.

The five individuals who were awarded OPAL awards for their lifetime achievement are Michael J. Abrahams, P.E., F.ASCE, for design; Robert L. Bowen, P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, for construction; Clifford Schexnayder, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, for education; Francis J. Lombardi, P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, for government; and Thomas R. Warne, P.E., M.ASCE, for management.

The Charles Pankow Award for Innovation was established by ASCE in 1996 in honor of Charles J. Pankow to recognize “collaboration in innovative design, materials, or construction-related research and development transferred into practice in a sustainable manner.” This year’s winner is American Engineering Testing, Inc., and the Cemstone Products Company for their new concrete mix design, which was chosen for utilizing the “largest practical amount of recycled materials.” They developed, demonstrated, and applied the use of supplemental cementitious materials in a revolutionary concrete mix that is both sustainable and yet meets the current building needs. The new design mix, which was used in the construction of the replacement bridge in Minneapolis carrying Interstate 35W over the Mississippi, is made up of waste stream materials—representing 98 percent of the mix—that would normally end up in a landfill.

Antonio Nanni, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, is the winner of this year’s Henry L. Michel Award for Industry Advancement of Research. The award was established in 1996 in honor of Henry L. Michel, a past chairman of the board of directors of the Civil Engineering Forum for Innovation, (formerly the Civil Engineering Research Foundation) and is annually presented to an individual “who is a recognized and acknowledged leader of the design and construction industry, whose dedication and aggressive vision have provided cornerstones for improving the quality of people’s lives around the world through research in the design and construction industry.”