Bridge may win RS&H Engineering Excellence award

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American Council of Engineering Companies notified Historic City News this afternoon that Reynolds, Smith & Hills, Inc. of Jacksonville is a finalist in the 45th annual Engineering Excellence Awards competition for restoring the historic Bridge of Lions.

RS&H utilized an innovative engineering approach to upgrade the aging structure without compromising its appearance or historic significance. A new steel framework that increases the bridge’s load-carrying capacity was designed to be concealed by the original fascia arched girders, among the bridge’s most iconic elements. As part of the project, these distinctive features were removed, repaired, and re-installed.

Other improvements include replication of long-lost ornamental elements, a new safety barrier to encourage use by pedestrians, and specialized material treatments that will guard against corrosion and wear. Though focused on preserving history, the project was very much a reflection of modern sustainability concerns, as more than 380 tons of structural steel was recycled and reused on the bridge.

The project is among 161 engineering projects from throughout the nation recognized by ACEC as preeminent engineering achievements for 2010. Judging for the Engineering Excellence Awards—known as the “Academy Awards of the engineering industry”—took place in February, conducted by a panel of more than 30 engineers, architects, government representatives, media members, and academics. Criteria for awards include uniqueness and originality, technical, social and economic value, complexity, and success of the projects in meeting goals.

All winners, including 16 Honor Awards, eight Grand Awards and the “Grand Conceptor Award” for best overall engineering achievement, will be recognized at the Engineering Excellence Awards Gala, to be held Friday, April 1, 2011, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) is the business association of America’s engineering industry, representing more than 5,000 independent engineering companies throughout the United States engaged in the development of America’s transportation, water and energy infrastructure, along with environmental, industrial and other public and private facilities. Founded in 1909 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., ACEC is a national federation of 51 state and regional organizations.

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