The American Council of Engineering Cos. of Colorado honored the winners of its 2015 Engineering Excellence Awards on Nov. 3. Each year a distinguished panel of judges representing a cross section of industry, academia and media rank the entries.

Projects in the competition are rated on the basis of uniqueness and innovative applications; future value to the engineering profession; perception by the public; social, economic, and sustainable development considerations; complexity; and successful fulfillment of clients and owners’ needs, including schedule and budget.

The 2015 Engineering Excellence award-winning projects will advance to ACEC’s national competition, which will be held next April in Washington D.C.

Excellence Award Winners

• Denver Union Station Redevelopment
, Cator, Ruma and Associates Co.

Turning the historic Denver Union Station into a multi-use transit center with restaurants, retail and a hotel brought a specific challenge—creating a 21st century thermal environment in a late 19th century building. Through the years, some air conditioning had been added to the station, but the transit center needed a fully integrated, energy-efficient system for thermal comfort—while preserving the historic nature of the building.

To produce a system effective enough to qualify for a LEED certification meant raising a floor section in the middle of the station’s Great Hall for quiet air diffusion and blending high-performance components, including thousands of feet of duct, pipe and mechanical system infrastructure into the space. 


• Pecos Street over I-70 Bridge Replacement
, Wilson and Co. Inc. Engineers and Architects

Replacing a 1965 bridge over I-70 at Pecos Street, a dense travel route for more than 130,000 vehicles a day, required a solution that would improve traffic operations within the interchange while minimizing impacts to the neighborhood and local businesses during construction.

Under the oversight of the Colorado Dept. of Transportation, an Interchange Alternatives Analysis Report led to an Accelerated Bridge Construction technique to replace the aging bridge and reconstruct the diamond interchange. It also incorporated two modern roundabouts at the ramp intersections with Pecos Street, resulting in significantly improved traffic flow and safety.

• Sterling Water Treatment System, Hatch Mott MacDonald

The city of Sterling potentially faced multiple Environmental Protection Agency violations of the national drinking water standard. Its water contained high levels of sulfate and total dissolved solids. The city wanted to install a new reverse-osmosis water treatment plant because of its effectiveness in removing contaminants, but the solution would be complicated because the treatment brine would contain uranium.

Engineers designed a unique application of reverse osmosis coupled with EPA Class 1 deep injection wells for waste disposal. The system enabled the city to meet its water-quality goals to provide 14,000 residents with safe, clean drinking water and built a 9.6-million gallon per day water treatment plant without incurring costs and risks associated with the disposal of uranium-contaminated waste.

• Denver Union Station Transit Center

The Denver Union Station Transit Center Improvements project transformed 42 acres of blighted former rail yards into the centerpiece of a vibrant downtown Denver, facilitating connections between the region’s transit systems, including bus, light rail and commuter rail. The iconic eight-track commuter rail train hall, new light rail station and 22-bay underground bus concourse and street alignments set the stage for this mixed-use transformation.

The transit center is the largest current multimodal project in the United States, spanning 17 city blocks and is also the largest multimodal project ever to seek LEED certification.  The transit center sets a new standard for 21st century transit facilities.

The council presented Honor Awards to Martin/Martin Inc. for the Colorado Capitol Dome Exterior Restoration; Bates Engineering Inc. for Williams Fork Small Hydro/Outlet Works and MKK Consulting Engineers Inc. for Commuter Rail Maintenance Facility - RTD FasTracks Eagle P3.

Recipients of Merit Awards were Bohannan Huston Inc., JeffCo Light Rail Station Pedestrian Bridge; Parson Transportation Group, Pitkin County Pedestrian Underpass; Felsburg Holt & Ullevig, Santa Fe Drive/Union Pacific Railroad Crossing Replacement; The RMH Group Inc., CU Boulder Student Recreation Center Renovation; URS Corp., Wyoming Connects: WYDOT’s Long Range Plan; Martin/Martin Inc., NREL Energy Systems Integration Facility; GEI Consultants Inc., Republican River Compact Compliance Pipeline; and Burns & McDonnell Engineering (BMCI Joint Venture), North Area Lift Station Design-Build.