The American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania (ACEC/PA) recognized three Urban Engineers’ projects at the 2015 Diamond Awards for Engineering Excellence.
Taking home the Honor Award in the Building/Technology Systems category was Paseo Verde, a $48 million, mixed-use residential development. This project advances to the national ACEC competition. Located adjacent to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s (SEPTA) Temple University Station in North Philadelphia, Paseo Verde is the nation’s first project to receive LEED® Platinum certification in the category of LEED® for Neighborhood Design. The building consists of 120 rental units, community amenities, and ground-floor retail. Among the numerous sustainability aspects included to achieve the LEED® Platinum rating were:
Urban provided site/land development and engineering design services.
Receiving Diamond Certificates in the Transportation Project Category were Urban-led efforts on the Walt Whitman Bridge Deck Replacement and the Widening of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Thanks in part to the Construction Management Joint Venture of Urban and URS Corporation, the Walt Whitman Bridge was reopened to traffic nine months earlier than expected and nearly $600,000 under budget. A crucial link between Pennsylvania and New Jersey that averages approximately 120,000 vehicles per day, the bridge’s improvements totaled $128 million. This included replacing the seven-lane, 3,500-foot-long suspension span roadway deck with a lightweight concrete-filled steel grid floating deck and the 250-foot-long New Jersey and Pennsylvania anchorage decks.
For the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Urban was engaged to design the widening of the Turnpike, from two travel lanes in each direction to three travel lanes in each direction, between Milepost A20 and Milepost A26 in Montgomery County. One of the nation’s oldest limited-access highways, the Turnpike’s right-of-way was largely established in the 1940s and 1950s. The challenge of incorporating 21st-century highway and stormwater management designs into a limited right-of-way while minimizing the impacts to adjacent residential and commercial properties was a key controlling aspect in the design.
In addition to the roadway, many other elements of sound engineering practices had to fit within the limited available “bandwidth.” These included, but were not limited to, the embankment or cut slopes needed to support and accommodate the roadway widening, as well as permanent roadway drainage features, stormwater management facilities, and E&S features to control surface water runoff and minimize the sediments and pollutants leaving the project site.