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OTIA III State Bridge Delivery Program
Web Brief (Apr 05)
ODOT wins "Environmental Excellence" award on Earth Day
 
On Friday, April 22 — Earth Day — ODOT received the Federal Highway Administration’s prestigious "Environmental Excellence Award for Environmental Streamlining" The award recognizes ODOT’s Bridge Replacement Environmental Stewardship Program, a unique approach to managing the replacement and repair of highway bridges throughout the state. ODOT created the program to address environmental issues while also saving time and money.
 
"Oregon’s bridge replacement program carries forward the U.S. Department of Transportation’s commitment to a high-quality transportation system and a healthy environment," said Federal Highway Administrator Mary E. Peters, in giving the award. "We appreciate and applaud Oregon’s dedication to these objectives."
 
"You cannot compete economically without a transportation system that is structurally sound," Governor Kulongoski said. "This project not only makes critical improvements to bridges and roads throughout the state, but also protects our wetlands and endangered species."
 
ODOT initiated a collaborative effort with 11 state and federal regulatory agencies, crafting a single set of environmental performance standards for all of the bridges that will be repaired or replaced under the Oregon Transportation Investment Act (OTIA). The standards meet the requirements of 14 state and federal environmental laws implemented by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Department of State Lands, Federal Highway Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service, State Historic Preservation Office, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
 
From its inception, ODOT’s environmental stewardship, as realized in the OTIA III State Bridge Delivery Program, has been an outstanding example of interagency coordination. It is now referred to as "Xtreme Collaboration," and all participating agencies acknowledge that they will realize important environmental and administrative streamlining benefits.
 
"We are showing that we can do things differently here in Oregon," said Oregon Transportation Commissioner Gail Achterman, who traveled to Washington, D.C., to receive the award on behalf of ODOT. "Rather than designing our projects to meet transportation needs and then looking at their environmental impacts, we are designing for transportation and the environment from the beginning, saving time and money and getting better results." 
 
"This unprecedented level of collaboration has resulted in not just one good project, but in a holistic change in how ODOT integrates environmental stewardship into project and program delivery," said Heather Catron, OTIA III State Bridge Delivery Program manager. "This program is delivering significant savings due to reducing or eliminating the cost and delays associated with redesign because of environmental impacts." ODOT’s new approach is estimated to lower total design costs by as much as 15 percent. 
 
The FHWA announced the winners of the Environmental Excellence Awards on Earth Day 2005 as a way of recognizing and showcasing organizations and individuals who successfully balance transportation needs with environmental protection.
 
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