The City of Alcoa’s newly constructed Diverging Diamond Interchange was recently recognized by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Tennessee at their 22nd Annual Engineering Excellence Awards Reception and Banquet held March 8 in Nashville.
The City of Alcoa along with the project’s design and consulting firm, Gresham, Smith and Partners (GS&P), and the Tennessee Department of Transportation were presented the ACEC’s Grand Award in the transportation category of the organization’s Engineering Excellence Awards program.
The interchange of Bessemer Street at US 129 bypass in Alcoa was experiencing increasing traffic volumes and congestion due to new commercial development in this area. In partnership, the City of Alcoa, the Tennessee Department of Transportation and GS&P chose the Diverging Diamond Interchange design for its operational and safety benefits, significantly lower cost of construction, and ability for it to be operational within a year. The $2.9 million interchange optimizes three lanes and saved money that would have been used to build a bridge.
The interchange became the first of its kind in Tennessee and only the fifth to be operational in the United States. The new U.S. 129 Bypass / Bessemer Street / Middlesettlements Road interchange re-aligns Middlesettlements Road to tie into Bessemer Street. Actually located under U.S. 129, the interchange is the first in the nation in operation that is located beneath a highway.
The American Council of Engineering Companies is a statewide organization of more than 110 engineering companies with chapters in East Tennessee, Chattanooga, Nashville, and Memphis. Through its activities and programs, ACEC of Tennessee works to improve the business practices of engineering firms, enhance public awareness and understanding of the value of engineering services, and influence public policy to promote the safety of Tennesseans. ACEC of Tennessee is a member of the national American Council of Engineering Companies which is headquartered in Washington D.C. The ACEC leads the business interests of firms providing professional knowledge and services for the built environment.
Steve Borden, TDOT Region 1 Director, showed his support of the innovative solution by saying, “As an engineer, any time that we get the opportunity to do something new, something that’s on the cutting edge, it’s very exciting.”
Alcoa Mayor Don Mull said, “We’re excited that the project received this recognition and are happy to provide the community a safe, innovative way to travel through Alcoa.”