Work remained scarce last year as the economic recovery continued its slow pace, but that did not stop the contenders for this year's Best Projects competition from putting their best work forward. The New York region, which covers New York, New Jersey and New England this year, drew a total of 104 entries, up from 98 last year.

Photo by Matthew Carbone, Architectural Photographer
Tied Together: Cornell's Milstein Hall is this year's higher education category winner.

To be eligible, project submitters had to meet a list of criteria. This included relaying the obstacles they faced during design or construction of the project and how these challenges were managed. They had to address innovation and creativity and provide details as to how their projects helped to elevate industry standards. Also, for the first time, this year's competition included a safety category for projects that went above and beyond the baseline industry safety requirements.

The entries included both large and small projects, leaving the judges with hard decisions to make in choosing category winners and, in some cases, merit winners. Their decision was even tougher when it came to choosing just one of the projects to be this year's Best Project for the New York region.

That honor this year goes to the Massachusetts Dept. of Transportation's I-93 Fast 14 Rapid Bridge Replacement Project, which one of the judges called "trendsetting" and several judges praised for its efficiency, time-savings and safety.

The Best Safety winner is the PSEG New Haven Peaking Project, submitted by Durr Mechanical Construction, which partnered with E-J Power Electric on the job. The judges liked the team's proactive steps taken to ensure both crew and site safety. MassDOT's Fast 14 also picked up the safety category merit award.

But these are just the highlights of the competition. The following pages will provide details about the winners as well as the judges, all of whom are industry veterans with a lot of experience working in the Northeast. The next frontier for the category winners detailed in these pages will be a new round of judging in Engineering News-Record's national Best Projects contest.

This Year's Winners Are:

Best Project of 2012- I-93 Fast 14 Rapid Bridge Replacement Project

Best Civil/Infrastructure- Lake Champlain Bridge

Best Cultural/Worship- Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Visitor Center

Best Government/Public Building- General Services Admin., Buffalo U.S. Federal Courthouse

Award of Merit-Government/Public Building- Restoration of Waterbury City Hall

Best Green Project- North Shore Community College Health Professions/Student Services Building

Award of Merit-Green Project- Brooklyn Navy Yard, Building 92

Award of Merit-Green Project- New Jersey American Water Canoe Brook

Best Health Care- Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center

Award of Merit-Health Care- Baystate Medical Center, Phase 1

Best Higher Education/Research- Milstein Hall

Award of Merit Higher Education/Research- CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Best Industrial/Manufacturing- Imperial Oil/Champion Chemical Superfund Site

Best Interior Design- NYSE Euronext Next Generation Trading Floor

Best K-12 Education- 250 East 57th Street

Best Landscape/Hardscape- National September 11 Memorial

Best Office- BASF North America Headquarters, the Green at Florham Park

Best Renovation/Restoration- Central Park Police Precinct

Award of Merit Renovation/Restoration- Terminal B Parking Garage Repairs and Rehabilitation

Best Retail/Hospitality- Hotel Jay and Pump House Waterpark

Best Retail/Mixed Use- The Continental

Best Small Project (Under $10 Million)- Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion

Best Specialty Contracting- Verizon Innovation Center

Best Sports/Entertainment- Resorts World Casino New York City

Best Transportation- I-93 Fast 14 Rapid Bridge Replacement Project

Award of Merit Transportation- Contract C-26503: Construction of Running Tunnels and Station Structures, Number 7 (Flushing) Line Extension, "A" Division (IRT), Borough of Manhattan

Award of Merit Transportation- Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge Foundations and Approach Structures

Best Safety- PSEG New Haven Peaking Project

Award of Merit Safety- I-93 Fast 14 Rapid Bridge Replacement Project