WASHINGTON — The Copperhill Watershed Restoration Project in Ducktown, Tennessee, has won the 2020 “Grand Conceptor” Award, signifying the year’s most outstanding engineering achievement, in the 53rd Annual Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) — a national juried competition sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC).

Traditionally an annual black-tie dinner and awards show, the event attracted more than 650 viewers Tuesday during its first-ever Virtual Engineering Excellence Awards Gala. Hosted by comedian Ross Shafer, the Gala honored 203 preeminent, global engineering achievements.

“Our member firms contribute amazing value to society. They improve our environment, design innovative spaces that sustain our social interactions, and develop new ways to move, conduct commerce and create new opportunities for economic development. Their work makes our modern life possible and they deserve to be recognized for it,” said Linda Bauer Darr, president and CEO, ACEC. “I am pleased we could keep the tradition of the annual Engineering Excellence Awards going this year with a virtual broadcast of the event.”

Designed by Barge Design Solutions in Nashville, the 20-year restoration project transformed a 50-square-mile site, severely damaged from more than a century of logging, mining, and acid production, into a lush, clean, and natural wonderland, where residents now enjoy fishing, swimming, and hiking. A video showcasing the project can be seen here.

Restoration efforts included disposal of mining waste, construction of clean-water diversions; re-establishment of natural, healthy communities of aquatic insects; and construction of new contaminant-filtering wetlands. Before the restoration, the contaminated site was one of only two manmade features astronauts could see from space, along with the Great Wall of China.

The project joins a prestigious list of previous Grand Conceptor Award winners, including the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement (Seattle, 2019); the Bayonne Bridge: Raising the Roadway Project (Bayonne, NJ/Staten Island, NY, 2018); the SR 520 Floating Bridge Replacement (Seattle, 2017); and The San Francisco Air Traffic Control Tower (2016).

Other Top 2020 Winners are:

Grand Awards (Project, Location and Engineering Firm):

•           Millersville University Net Zero Welcome Center, Millersville, Pennsylvania, by AKF Group;

•           New U.S. Embassy, Pristina, Kosova, by Mason & Hanger;

•           The Shed, New York City, by Thornton Tomasetti;

•           Amazon Urban Neighborhood, Seattle, by Magnusson Klemencic Associates;

•           Lower Crystal Spings Dam Bridge Replacement, San Mateo County, California, by AECOM and WSP USA;

•           Samuel de Champlain Bridge; Montreal, by T.Y. Lin International Canada;

•           Manning Crevice Bridge, Riggins, ID, by Atkins North America;

•           Satellite & GPS Measurement to Support Groundwater Management Act, Statewide California, by Towill Inc.;

•           Virginia Initiative Plant Nutrient Reduction, Norfolk, Virginia, by HDR;

•           Trap Rock Water Treatment Facility, Leesburg, Virginia, by CDM Smith;

•           I-90 Hyak to Keechelus Dam Phase 1C, Snoqualmie Pass, Washington, by Jacobs Engineering Group;

•           Virginia Avenue Tunnel Reconstruction, Washington, D.C., by Clark/Parsons;

•           I-696 Innovative Design, Malcomb County, Michigan, by Tetra Tech;

•           San Gabriel Trench Grade Separation, San Gabriel, California, by Moffatt & Nichol; and

•           Hudson Yards, New York, New York, by Langan.


Honor Awards (Project, Location and Engineering Firm):

•           HDR Headquarters Multi-Use Office Building, Omaha, Nebraska, by HDR;

•           Hale Centre Theatre, Sandy, Utah, by VBFA;

•           Popular Street Bridge Widening and Rehabilitation, St. Louis, by HDR;

•           Marc Basnight Bridge, Dare County, North Carolina, by HDR;

•           Columbia University’s Manhattanville Campus, New York City, by Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers;

•           University of Wisconsin-Madison Hamel Music Center, Madison, Wisconsin, by raSmith;

•           15 Hudson Yards, New York City, by WSP USA;

•           SW Brooklyn Marine Tranfer Station Project, Brooklyn, New York, by Greeley and Hansen;

•           Aquifer Storage and Recovery Program Services, Hastings, Nebraska, by HDR;

•           Kaneohe-Kailua Wastewater Facilities Program Project, Honolulu, Hawaii, by Wilson Okamoto Corporation;

•           Beaver Creek Fish Passage, La Grande, Oregon, by Anderson Perry & Associates;

•           East Side Coastal Resiliency EIS, New York City, by Hazen and Sawyer/KKRF (Joint Venture);

•           Big Sioux River Flood Information System, Eastern South Dakota; by RESPEC;

•           I-235 Broadway Widening at 50th St. & BNSF RR, Oklahoma City, by Benham Design;

•           Beehive Bridge, New Britain, Connecticut, by Fuss & O’Neill;

•           Reconstruction of Harlem River Drive over 127th Street, New York City, by Hardesty & Hanover;

•           Bayou Sara Swing Bridge, Mobile County, Alabama, by HDR;

•           MAASTO Truck Parking Information Management System, Statewide, Kansas, by HNTB;

•           Rainier Square Tower Shoring Design, Seattle, Washington, by Hart Crowser; and

•           ABC Weekend Superstsructure Replacement, Falls Church, Virginia, by WSP USA.


For more information, visit www.acec.org.