The two contenders for this year's "Southeast Project of the Year"—ENR Southeast's top recognition for its Best Projects contest—couldn't be more different. At the same time, the PortMiami Tunnel project and the Florida Polytechnic University Innovation, Science and Technology Building similarly exhibit some of the "best" qualities inherent to our annual project-excellence competition.
As any reader knows who has worked on a Best Projects entry over the years, our contest is based upon achievements in the following criteria: Overcoming challenges and teamwork; safety; innovation and contribution to the industry/community; construction quality and craftsmanship; and outstanding design.
In each of those categories, both of these projects stood out from the competition, according to this year's panel of judges, and garnered the two highest scores of the nearly 100 entries overall.
For instance, on the PortMiami Tunnel project, the construction team successfully completed the mission of building the world's first large-diameter tunnel to be bored through coralline limestone—along with seven other distinct layers of earth. Meanwhile, in Lakeland, Fla., contractors tweaked Santiago Calatrava's original plan for the one-of-a-kind building by coming up with a unique and innovative construction strategy for creating the structure's signature roof system.
Additionally, each project definitely will have an enormous impact. The PortMiami Tunnel has had a dramatic effect on the movement of trucks into and out of the port area, while at the same time getting these freight vehicles off of local roads.
At the same time, Florida Polytechnic's IST building is now serving as the central, signature hub for the nation's newest engineering university—established by the state of Florida just over two years ago—and welcomed its first students this fall.
ENR Southeast's November 3 print edition will feature more on both of these projects. Additionally, we invite readers to attend our annual Best Projects Awards event, to be held Nov. 11 in Orlando.