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From a $16-million sewer separation project to a $60-million Thai temple, this year's Best Projects competition showcased a broad list of winners from across New England. Spanning Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, the winners caught the judges' attention based on criteria such as innovation, overcoming challenges and safety.

The judges reviewed 18 projects, completed between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014, and chose eight to take home the top prize for a specific category and seven others to claim awards of merit. Two of the four judges are safety experts, and they reviewed five projects entered in a separate safety portion of the contest.

The judges had two weeks to review and score each entry on a scale of 1 to 10. Once their scores were tallied, two separate conference calls were held—one for the main contest and one for the safety portion—in which the judges hashed out which projects they felt were deserving of category and/or merit awards.

The judges also had to select the region's Best Project of the Year out of this year's four finalists: the $14-million Checkered House Bridge Truss Widening Project, the $224-million MaineGeneral Medical Center, the $678-million Greater Springfield Reliability Project and the $60-million Cross Insurance Center. After some debate, the judges awarded the title to the Greater Springfield Reliability Project, deeming the power project a "magnificent" one.

Separately, the safety judges looked for a project whose safety record stood above the rest. They commended several projects but narrowed their selection down to two: the E Ink Innovation Center, which nabbed the top prize in this portion of the competition, and the Cross Insurance Center, which took home the award of merit. The judges said that the E Ink Innovation Center project team "actually talked the talk and walked the walk" and executed its safety program to produce a "very clean site."

Category winners will go on to compete against category winners in other regions and undergo a new round of review for possible selection as Engineering News-Record's Best of the Best Projects. The results of that contest will be announced in ENR early next year.