jENR Mountain States, based on a vote of ENR regional editors across the country from a pool of finalists, has chosen its Owners of the Year, two entities whose leadership and projects are transforming their respective sectors and improving the lives of travelers and commuters.

In Colorado, Wyoming and the Dakotas, our choice for Owner of the Year is Denver International Airport, and on the Intermountain side, ENR regional editors have selected the Utah Dept. of Transportation.


UDOT had nearly 190 projects under construction in 2018, with a combined value of $1.46 billion, the highest total for the agency in several years. Currently, it has 84 projects under construction. Leading the list of its largest 2018 project starts is the widening and improvement of Interstate 15 at S.R. 92 through the Technology Corridor in Lehi. The $300-million project is being led by a joint venture of Ames/Wadsworth.

Ralph L. Wadsworth is the lead contractor on another freeway-widening project, $136 million in improvements to I-15 southbound through Salt Lake County, set for completion in fall 2020.

UDOT continues its long history of innovation. In 2018 the department partnered with the Utah Transit Authority for the first operational use in the U.S. of a new connected-vehicle technology. The system helps Utah Transit Authority buses arrive on time by extending the green signal time for buses that are running late.

The agency also is building the framework for a statewide connected-vehicle network and recently partnered with UTA to launch an Autonomous Shuttle Pilot that will improve safety and increase mobility on the state’s roads.

Denver International Airport

DIA was honored in 2018 by The Wall Street Journal as the best airport in the U.S. It scored high in reliability, value and convenience, among other criteria.

More than 64.5 million people passed through DIA in 2018, up from 61.4 in 2017, making it the fifth-busiest airport in the U.S. Last year the airport also reached a milestone of offering service to 200 nonstop destinations worldwide, one of only five U.S. airports to provide service to 200 destinations. At the end of 2018, DIA served 183 domestic destinations nonstop.

To better assist passengers parking at the airport, it opened in 2018 a free bag-drop service in selected shuttle parking lots. Passengers can check bags and print boarding passes from their cars, before parking and boarding a shuttle. It’s the first drive-up bag drop in the country.

The airport launched two of the biggest projects in its history in 2018, a $1.5-billion gate expansion being managed by two joint-ventures: Holder Construction and FCI Constructors Inc., on Concourse B-East and Concourse C-East; and Turner Construction and Flatiron Construction on Concourse A-West and Concourse B-West. In total, the project will add 39 new gates, increasing the airport’s gate capacity by 30%.

DIA also began a $650-million renovation (with a $120 million contingency) of its main terminal. The Great Hall Project is a public-private partnership with Great Hall Partners, comprised of Ferrovial Airports JLC Infrastructure and Saunders Concessions.

Watch for detailed profile stories on both these owners in the April issue of ENR Mountain States. Congrats to this year’s winners.