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Oregon projects take home environmental awards
 
Two of ODOT’s innovative partnerships projects that use alternative energy sources to power parts of the transportation system have won Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) environmental awards, and a project to improve safety for both vehicles and wildlife on US 97 in Central Oregon was also honored.
 
Each year, FHWA hands out Exemplary Human Environment Initiatives (EHEI) to projects that either create or improve conditions for human activities while protecting the natural environment.  FHWA also offers awards for Exemplary Ecosystem Initiatives (EEI) to projects that ecosystem and habitat projects that are unique or highly unusual in their geographic scope, use cutting edge science or technology, attain high level of environmental standards, achieve high quality results, and/or promote environmental interests that are particularly valuable or noteworthy.
 
This year, a total of 18 projects received the EEI or EHEI—or both—and Oregon had three of these projects.
 
 
  • ODOT’s Solar Highway program won an EHEI for developing the nation’s largest solar highway project at the I-5 Baldock Rest Area just south of Wilsonville.
 
  • ODOT also won an EEI for building wildlife passage undercrossings on US 97 as part of a major highway upgrade.  These undercrossings allow animals to cross the highway without getting struck, reducing both animal mortality and vehicle crashes that injure people.  ODOT has posted a YouTube video showing how the undercrossing funnels wildlife under rather than across the highway.
 
ODOT also won three FHWA awards in 2011.