Negussey’s Geofoam Project Named 2002 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement

September 10, 2002

Salt Lake City’s Interstate 15 (I-15) was named the 2002 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement (OCEA) by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Syracuse University’s Professor Dawit Negussey, director of the Geofoam Research Center, was the geofoam technical consultant for the I-15 project. Negussey was involved in material behavior studies, design and instrumentation during construction and in long-term performance monitoring in post construction. The I-15 project is the largest geofoam project to date in the US and one of the largest in the world.

The I-15 project is the largest public works project ever undertaken using an engineering and construction method known as ‘design/build.’ Design/build can shorten the time needed to complete a project, but its success requires highly effective project management.

Presented this evening to the Utah Department of Transportation at the Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) gala celebration in Los Angeles, the award recognizes the project for its significant contribution to civil engineering progress and Salt Lake City’s community. I-15 was selected from among six outstanding project finalists throughout the United States. In total, there were 33 entries submitted for consideration.

“The I-15 project has contributed greatly to Salt Lake City’s ability to stage the successful Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympic Games, and will continue to serve the area’s residents for years to come,” said H. Gerard Schwartz, Jr., P.E., ASCE president. “The Interstate exemplifies the ideals of innovation, technical excellence, and community benefit.”

In announcing the selection of the I-15 project, the jury noted that the project was completed in just four years, half the time that would have been needed using traditional approaches, and came in $32 million under budget. Jurors also noted the innovative use of materials, such as lightweight Styrofoam-known as geofoam-in the embankments. The project was nominated by the Utah Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers on behalf of the Utah Department of Transportation.

Since 1960, ASCE has named a project as an Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement. The prestigious national award recognizes civil engineering projects that contribute to community well-being, demonstrate resourcefulness in planning and solving design challenges, and use innovative construction methods.

The OPAL awards gala was first held in April 2000. In addition to celebrating outstanding civil engineering projects, the OPAL awards honor professional civil engineers for lifelong contributions in five categories – public works, construction, management, design, and education.