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Main Street Project wins national transportation infrastructure award

  • People walk along North Main Street during opening day of Intown Concord’s Market Days Festival on Thursday, June 23, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)



Monitor staff
Monday, April 24, 2017

The Main Street Project is cleaning up when it comes to infrastructure awards.

It won its latest prize last week, beating out transportation projects nationwide in cities with populations less than 75,000 people, City Engineer Ed Roberge said.

The redesign of Main Street ranked No. 1 in transportation projects in its category, according to the American Public Works Association, which will formally deliver the award in Orlando, Fla., in August.

“It’s quite a recognition,” Roberge said. “We’re quite happy about it.”

The American Public Works Association award follows on the heels of a recognition last month from the New Hampshire chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies.

That statewide contest resulted in a “gold-level” award for engineering excellence. The recognition was outclassed by only the overall winner, the Broad Street Parkway in Nashua.

Roberge said the Main Street Project also won top honors in a third contest, though he can’t announce the details yet.

“They don’t want us to go public with it yet because they want it to be a surprise at their annual ceremony,” he said.

The project has been entered in two other contests that are still pending. In other words, of its five entries, the project has won awards in every contest decided so far, and could rack up two more.

“That’s pretty good, yeah,” Roberge said.

Concord submitted its Main Street Project, which was completed last fall, for consideration by the American Public Works Association first at a regional level, Roberge said.

When the New England chapter “concurred that it’s very worthwhile,” he sent a 20-page application on to the national branch before a March 1 deadline.

“I thought we had a good shot,” Roberge said. “This is such a complex project that is so much more than a surface transportation project, with so many unique characteristics.”

One of the criteria for the award was based on transferability, Roberge said.

“Can someone pick up this project, read our document and be able to use the same strategies that we did? They definitely can, and that’s why I think we had such a high value,” he said.

Other elements that boosted the application were the robust public process that informed the design and its broad impact on the atmosphere of the entire downtown, he said.

“Giving us the national award really recognizes our efforts,” Roberge said.

The American Public Works Association awards aren’t unknown to the city of Concord, however. Roberge himself won individually last year as the professional manager of the year for engineering and technology.

Public works employees in Keene and Nashua also won that year for their efforts on emergency management and facilities and grounds.

Those employees and the projects they worked on were among the 16 total awards that came to the New England chapter of the American Public Works Association in 2016, Roberge said.

“That was a very, very high number for an individual chapter,” Roberge said. “It just shows how active we are and how strong our group is.”

(Nick Reid can be reached at 369-3325, nreid@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at
@NickBReid.)