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(Rel. # 01H16-Grand).EEA# H16 EMBARGO: 12:00AM March 13, 2001 Media: Francis George, 202/347-7474 email@example.com, ACEC Contact: Paul Witt, 907/274-2000 HDR Alaska, Inc. ONE-OF-A-KIND RAIL/ROAD TUNNEL TO PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND WINS NATIONAL ENGINEERING AWARD Washington, D.C.—(March 13, 2001)— The new Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, the world’s first public highway/railroad tunnel, has won a Grand Award in the American Consulting Engineers Council’s 35th annual Engineering Excellence Award competition. The one-of-a-kind tunnel provides safe, easy public access to the long-isolated Alaskan port city of Whittier and serves as a gateway to Prince William Sound. HDR Alaska, Inc., led the design of the $80-million project for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. Opened on June 7, 2000, the project converted the existing 2.5-mile railroad tunnel into a multi- modal facility. The reconfigured tunnel has two bridges, a 500-foot-long highway tunnel, 2.6 miles of road, support facilities, and many technological innovations. Previously, the only way to reach Whittier was by loading vehicles on a railcar for transport through the World War II-era tunnel. Driven by a growing need for safe and affordable public access to Whittier, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities selected HDR Alaska to study access alternatives. --more-- --2-- HDR proposed the combined auto/rail tunnel as the safest, most cost-effective way to achieve this goal. Adapting the tunnel to combined use would also limit impacts to Chugach National Forest. The design pioneered the use of a highway Tunnel Control System and Train Signal System to ensure that cars and trains are never in the tunnel at the same time. The 2.5-mile-long tunnel floor is the first to use precast concrete panels with embedded tracks. Other notable firsts include a combination of six 75-horsepower jet fans and four 300-horsepower portal fans for ventilation, and safehouses located at 1,600-foot intervals to provide emergency shelter for travelers. Specially designed A-frame portals at both ends of the tunnel can withstand avalanche loads up to 1,000 pounds per square foot. In addition, the design had to account for construction challenges, such as replacing railroad appurtenances with base, conduit, radar detectors, ice control, and concrete panels with minimal disruption to rail service, and through severe winter conditions. The Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel is one of 24 winners that will be honored today at a gala, black-tie banquet and ceremony in Washington, D.C. A panel of judges with backgrounds in engineering, architecture, government, media, academia, and the military selected the Engineering Excellence Award winners from a competitive field of 156 finalists. A host of congressional leaders will be on hand for the awards ceremony, including Senators Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Christopher Bond (R-Mo.). The ceremony is part of ACEC's annual Consulting Congress Day, during which representatives of the nation's consulting engineering firms visit with members of Congress to discuss engineering business-related policy and legislation. The American Consulting Engineers Council (ACEC) is the business association of America's engineering industry, representing more than 5,000 independent engineering companies throughout the United States engaged in the development of America's transportation, environmental, industrial, and other infrastructure. Founded in 1910 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., ACEC is a national federation of 51 state and regional organizations. --end-- NOTE TO EDITORS: Download a printable high-resolution photo of this project from http://www.acec.org/EEA/EEAgrandawards/whittier.tif.
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