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Project Named Outstanding Engineering Achievement
July 1, 2008

When it opened in 1961, the original Woodrow Wilson Bridge was designed to accommodate 75,000 trips per day. By the end of its life it was carrying nearly 200,000 trips and was classified as functionally obsolete. The new Woodrow Wilson Bridge project replaced nearly 12 percent of the Capital Beltway (Interstate 495/95) and created four new interchanges, resolving one of the worst bottlenecks on the East Coast while at the same time implementing numerous projects and programs to protect the local environment. In recognition of the project’s success, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project has been honored with the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) 2008 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement (OCEA) Award. Presented recently at the ninth annual Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Awards Gala in Arlington, Va., the OCEA award recognizes the project’s significant contributions to both the civil engineering profession and the local community.

The project included an environmental mitigation program, which used a holistic and watershed based approach to link local and regional environmental needs. The program–the first of its kind attempted in an urban setting–restored 26 miles of historic spawning habitat by removing or modifying 23 manmade barriers to fish passage in five major streams located in the D.C. area. The design focused on two solutions that mimic natural stream channels: the riffle grade control structure and flow constrictor/
step pool.

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