The Cypress Gardens Road Bridge Emergency Replacement over CSX Railroad won the ACEC-South Carolina Palmetto Award, the top prize at the organization’s annual Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) competition. The announcement capped the annual EEA gala, held at the Columbia Museum of Art.

A train derailment on April 28, 2014 impacted the pile bent foundations of the Cypress Gardens Road (S-8-9) Bridge in Berkeley County, SC. South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) personnel determined the bridge was damaged beyond repair. With 6,200 vehicles per day facing a 22-mile detour, it was imperative for SCDOT to get the road reopened as soon as possible.

The design-build team of Cape Romain Contractors, JMT (engineer-of-record), and S&ME(geotechnical engineer) completed the bridge replacement project on October 2, 2014, more than three weeks ahead of schedule. JMT and S&ME’s insight and innovation applied to the design, and particularly the soil characterization and investigation, directly contributed to Cape Romain’s successfully winning the project and to its early completion.

ACEC-South Carolina’s annual EEA – “the Academy Awards of the engineering industry” – honors the year’s most outstanding engineering accomplishments. EEA entries are accepted into one of 12 project categories: studies, research, and consulting engineering services; building/technology systems; structural systems; surveying and mapping technology; environmental; waste and stormwater; water resources; transportation; special projects; small projects; energy; and industrial and manufacturing processes and facilities.

A distinguished panel of judges assembles to critique and rank the submissions for engineering excellence. Projects from throughout the state are rated on the basis of uniqueness and innovative applications; future value to the engineering profession; perception by the public; social, economic, and sustainable development considerations; complexity; and successful fulfillment of client/owner’s needs, including schedule and budget. The top-ranked project in each category receives the Engineering Excellence Award while only one Palmetto Award winner is chosen as the overall best engineering project from a South Carolina firm.

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