From Rhode Island’s largest solar panel installation to an independent living facility in Connecticut, ENR New England’s annual Best Projects competition once again highlights talented project teams from across the region.

For example, the Gold Meadow Farms solar park, the Best Project in the energy/industrial category, spans a rugged former dairy farm in Cranston, R.I. While original construction documents didn’t reflect actual conditions, the team mitigated subsurface unknowns in the site’s backfilled areas with a strategy to drill and grout foundations for more than 3,000 posts, minimizing the risks of cave-ins.

Meanwhile, Seabury Active Life Community in Bloomfield, Conn., the Best Project in the health care category, met a fixed deadline to deliver customized independent living residences with an innovative rolling turnover process. The apartments were completed in groups to accommodate tenants’ scheduled move-in dates. A dedicated project manager created residence-specific finish packages for bidders while providing buildable documents for the trades.

The 18 winning projects in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont include—for the first time—the judges’ choices for Project of the Year finalists. To be considered as a finalist, a project had to be a Best Project-level winner in an individual category. The judges selected the following projects as finalists: Congress Square, the Best Project in the renovation/restoration category; Greenwich Country Day Middle School, Best Project in K-12 education; and the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge Replacement, Best Project in the highway/bridge sector.

Ultimately, the judges selected the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge as the Project of the Year.  The bridge—connecting Portsmouth, N.H. and Kittery, Maine, across the Piscataqua River—replaced an existing vertical-lift bridge. Consisting of a concrete superstructure with post-tensioned precast concrete segments resting on concrete piers, the replacement bridge has a steel lift span supported by towers made up of post-tensioned precast segments. The project is also the award of merit winner in the safety category. The team only had one recordable injury and zero lost-time incidents.

This year’s safety judge—Rodney Stanley, loss control director, Region I at Maine Employers Mutual Insurance Co.—selected Wentworth Institute of Technology’s Center for Engineering, Innovation and Sciences as the Excellence in Safety winner. The project team, which also won an award of merit in the higher education/research category, protected pedestrians traversing a main pedestrian thoroughfare adjacent to the project that remained open for the project’s entire duration.

The judges for the main categories were Shaun Lover, president at Columbia Construction Co.; Bill Massey, principal at Sasaki; and J. Brett Williams, president, general manager for the New England region at Burns & McDonnell. Project teams were judged on how well they contributed to the industry and community and overcame challenges.

Judges had the option of selecting any number of Best Projects and award of merit honorees. Learn about all of the judges’ selections in the following pages.