The Associated General Contractors of America recently honored Salt Lake City’s Airport Light Rail extension as the most significant construction project of 2013. The project’s contractors, Stacy and Witbeck and Kiewit Western, won the Grand Award at the Alliant Build America Awards at AGC’s national convention in Las Vegas in early March.

Photo courtesy of UTA
The 6.2-mile light rail extension connects Salt Lake International Airport with downtown Salt Lake City.

The project also earned a merit award in the Marvin M. Black Partnering Excellence category and was recognized as an AGC in the Community Award winner.

The Utah Transit Authority Airport TRAX project included a 6.2-mile light rail extension that connects the Salt Lake International Airport with downtown Salt Lake City, which developed a new gateway to the downtown area. The joint venture team of Stacy and Witbeck and Kiewit also shortened a viaduct for the existing Union Pacific Railroad’s active mainline and UTA FrontRunner tracks, minimizing the impact for more than 120 business, organizations and residential communities near the construction alignment. The project was completed ahead of the 2015 scheduled completion date and under the initial $250-million cost projections.

The project also won the AGC Charities’ AGC in the Community Award for an in-depth community outreach program that created a long-term connection with local businesses and the community at-large. Field crews collected money for residents at Freedom Landing—a local transitional housing facility for veterans—for a complete Thanksgiving dinner, as well as new community room furniture and a big-screen TV. Stacy and Witbeck and Kiewit employees also adopted the area’s West High School, which primarily serves low-income students, and Neighborhood Youth Works, a youth guidance program.

“Projects like these reflect the qualities—elite skill, diligence and resolve—that have made the construction industry successful,” said Paul Diederich, AGC 2013 president and president of Grand Forks, N.D.-based Industrial Builders Inc. “These contractors are setting the standard of excellence in our industry.”

 “In the construction industry, there’s no greater sense of fulfillment than when a project makes a real difference in people’s lives,” said Jim Clemens, chairman of AGC Charities and chairman emeritus of Philadelphia, Pa.-based Clemens Construction Co. “These projects are building better communities and better lives.”

The Alliant Build America Awards highlight some of the nation’s most significant construction projects. A panel of judges, representing all areas of construction, evaluated an impressive number of submissions this year, assessing each project’s complexity, use of innovative construction techniques and client satisfaction, among other criteria.

The AGC Build America Marvin M. Black Partnering Award (now represented by a category within the Alliant Build America Awards) is presented annually to construction projects that epitomize the principles of partnering. Inspired by AGC’s Past President Marvin M. Black, the inclusion of partnering into the Build America Awards represents a timely and unified celebration of the construction industry’s finest.

AGC in the Community Award winners are selected by a panel of judges representing all areas of construction. Award entries were evaluated based on the level of commitment, the scope of the philanthropic efforts and the quality of the benefits to the community.