Mesa’s Gilbert Road Light Rail Extension was among the most significant construction project of 2020, the Associated General Contractors of America announced today. As a result, the project’s contractor, Stacy and Witbeck/Sundt, a Joint Venture received the association’s Construction Risk Partners Build America Merit Award for best new highway and transportation project. 

“These awards put a spotlight on some of the toughest, most innovative and successful projects completed during the past year,” said Dirk Elsperman, the association’s president and executive vice president and chief operating officer of Tarlton Corp. in St. Louis, Mo.  “The winning firms are helping elevate the overall quality of construction in this country.”

Only the second system in the U.S. to feature light rail running through a roadway roundabout, this project includes four miles of embedded track, two new stations, an overhead catenary system, and traction power substations, as well as a park-and-ride lot and roadway work. The center running track extends the existing light rail line from historic downtown Mesa to Gilbert Road. Running through dense urban streets, the Stacy and Witbeck team and other stakeholders performed extensive outreach to local businesses and communities, often working with them to develop thoughtful solutions to parking and traffic detours. In particular, the roundabout proved a complicated component, as it required a 17-day closure that affected several school bus routes. However, the team scheduled the work over the schools’ holiday schedule to minimize disruption. Using detailed sequencing and working weekends and holidays, the team ensured the project was completed on time for a grand opening on May 18. 

“The Build America Awards represent the very best performance our industry has to offer,” said Joe Charczenko of Construction Risk Partners. “We would like to congratulate all of this year’s award winners and nominees for their accomplishments, and applaud the AGC and its membership for continuing to improve American lives through much needed infrastructure advancements.” 

The Construction Risk Partners Build America Awards highlight the nation’s most significant construction projects. A panel of judges, representing all areas of construction, evaluated an impressive number of submissions this year, assessing each project’s complexity, use of innovative construction techniques and client satisfaction, among other criteria. The awards, which were announced during the association’s annual convention in Las Vegas, are considered by many to be the most prestigious recognition of construction accomplishments in the U.S.