Each year, ENR Midwest recognizes great projects that move design and construction forward in the 11-state region with the annual Best Projects awards.

There were 97 entries in this year’s competition and culling that list down to 35 Best Projects and award of merit winners was no easy task. ENR Midwest thanks our independent panel of judges for their hard work in judging one of the strongest fields of projects we’ve ever seen. The judges were: Danielle Dy Buncio, president and CEO of ViaTechnik; Laura Young, CEO of Griskelis Young Harrell; Michael Sturino, president and CEO at the Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association; Steve Zimmerman, associate principal at Wiss Janney Elstner Associates; Lynda Leigh, project manager at Turner Construction; Jeff Emrick, director of safety and compliance at Ozinga; and Sam Mishelow, chief strategy officer at Meyer Najem Construction. They generously donated their time and expertise in judging a diverse group of entrants that ranged from major highway work to skyscrapers, water projects and innovative landscaping.

Our safety judges, Emrick and Mishelow, faced a particularly tough task in comparing safety projects across a wide swath of project types. Any judges whose companies made awards submissions were recused from judging the categories in which those submissions appeared.

While the 97 projects entered came up short of last year’s all-time record of 106 entries, the quality of the projects submitted made scoring them difficult. Many projects were separated by only the narrowest of margins in our judging criteria. Most importantly, all of these projects show how designers and construction professionals are using new techniques and technology to move the industry forward. The projects described in the following pages include an innovative medical center that treats surgery and treatment differently than any other; an iconic baseball stadium restored to its original splendor with some nods to modernity; a hangar that will allow better service at one of the nation’s busiest airports; and an urban streetcar that’s bringing public transit back to its roots while still using smart switching technology.

Winners also include a highway that was delivered 17 years earlier than initially planned thanks to an alternative delivery method and a unified project team; a manufacturing plant that takes the waste out of pork production; a water infrastructure fix that saved a city’s water supply; two restorations of historic train stations that relied on inventive construction techniques; and a pedestrian bridge that thanks to a great design and construction delivery was able to span geographic obstacles previously thought insurmountable.