In February, the American Council of Engineering Companies of California (ACEC California) unveiled the 2018 recipients of its prestigious Engineering Excellence Awards. Of the recipients, three Orange County-area firms were recognized with Honor Awards and five Orange County firms were recognized with Merit Awards.

In all, 39 California firms representing 55 projects were recognized. 19 Honor Awards were granted to 18 firms; 26 Merit Awards were granted to 20 firms; and 10 Commendation Awards were granted to 9 firms. The winner of the Golden State Award, an honor bestowed on the best overall project, was announced at the Engineering Excellence Awards dinner in February 2018. The awards dinner is also a fundraiser for the ACEC California Scholarship Foundation 501(c)3, which provides scholarship awards to accomplished graduate and undergraduate students. Honor Award winners that were eligible entered the national level Engineering Excellence Awards competition and had their photographic panels on display at the Capitol, outside of the Governor’s office, in early 2018 during National Engineers Week.

Honor Awards recipients from the Orange County area include:

Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company, Inc. in Brea, CA, for its work on the Big Canyon Restoration and Water Quality Improvement Project in Newport Beach, CA. The project included a comprehensive program to restore the Big Canyon Creek to its native condition and improve the quality of water it carried to an environmentally sensitive coastal region. Because the green solution was implemented at a significantly lower cost than other treatment approaches, the City of Newport Beach was able to use remaining funds to restore six acres of eroded land to natural conditions, which also contributed to improved water quality.

Michael Baker International in Santa Ana, CA, for its work on the I-5/La Novia Roundabout in San Juan Capistrano, CA. The project consisted of a modern roundabout intersection design that replaced an awkward, offset, stop-sign controlled intersection which was regularly congested and created confusion among commuters, leading to increased traffic incidents. The new four-legged roundabout was designed to fit the existing topography, improve the flow of traffic, and enhance vehicular and pedestrian safety.

Inland Foundation Engineering, Inc. in San Jacinto, CA, for its work on Hemet Elementary School Campus Replacement in Hemet, CA. Constructed in 1927, Hemet Elementary School was closed in 2009 and demolished in 2015 as a result of continued long-term settlement and structural damage. Because of the proximity of a highly active earthquake fault zone less than one mile from the site, the project included an innovative solution to create an improved building foundation that would reduce potential seismic settlement.

Merit Awards recipients from the Orange County area include:

Arcadis US Inc. in Irvine, CA, for its work on the Port of Los Angeles Berths 142-143 Backland Improvement Phases 2-4 in Wilmington, CA. This renewed port project is a component of the phased development of the Trans Pacific Container Services, Corp Container Terminal Improvement program, part of $1 billion worth of capital improvements planned over the next several years.

Huitt-Zollars, Inc. in Irvine, CA, for its work on the La Pata Avenue/Camino Del Rio Extensions in unincorporated Orange County, San Juan Capistrano & San Clemente, CA. The La Pata Extension is the single-largest, in both scope and cost, Orange County Public Works horizontal infrastructure project constructed by the agency. The County roadway extension benefits thousands of drivers daily and significantly increases regional mobility in south Orange County by providing an alternative to the heavily-used Interstate 5 freeway.

Kimley-Horn in Orange, CA, for its work on Sunray Solar in San Bernardino County, CA. The Sunray Solar project is home to the world’s first commercial concentrated solar power plant. The project encompassed the expansion of a new plant, replacing the old concentrated solar technologies with the latest photovoltaic technologies, which will provide electricity for approximately 40,000 households per year.

KOA Corporation in Orange, CA, for its work on the Town of Apple Valley Safe Routes to School Master Plan in Apple Valley, CA. The Master Plan provides implementation strategies for safe routes to school, removing barriers to active transportation, and addressing actual and perceived safety concerns. The Master Plan also focuses specifically on expanding active transportation access within and between neighborhoods and to employment centers, shopping areas, schools, and recreational sites. This report is designed for use by public officials at the county, town and school district levels.

TranSystems in Santa Ana, CA, for its work on the Laurel Street Grade Separation in Colton, CA. TranSystems was selected by the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority as the lead designer and construction management firm for the project. The project consisted of safely separating pedestrians, bicycles, vehicle traffic and emergency responders from train traffic through the creation of an undercrossing. The primary benefits of the project include enhanced safety, more efficient goods movement, and vehicle emissions reduction due to improved local traffic circulation.

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