The innovative and visually stunning Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge, a crown jewel of Boston's Central Artery/Tunnel project, has a new honor to add to its list of accolades. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has named the bridge the 2004 winner of its Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement award.
The bridge, across the Charles River, is the widest cable-stayed span ever built, and the first asymmetrical cable-stayed bridge in North America. It features two outer traffic lanes cantilevered on one side, and eight more lanes that pass through the legs of two 91-meter-tall, inverted-Y towers capped with obelisks.
Part of the project also known as the Big Dig, the Zakim bridge connects Boston's historic Charlestown district with new underground tunnels through the heart of the city. The first lanes of the bridge opened in 2003. When fully operational next year, it will carry more than 110,000 vehicles a day.
Bechtel and Parsons Brinckerhoff are overall project managers
for the Big Dig, a massive undertaking to modernize Boston's aging transportation system and ease traffic in one of the most congested cities in the United States. The project is on schedule for completion in 2005.
The engineers' society chose the Zakim bridge from among seven finalists and 24 nominated projects. One of the finalists was the new commuter rail station at the site of the World Trade Center in New York, a project on which Bechtel also worked.
In announcing the award, ASCE President Patricia Galloway cited the Zakim bridge's engineering advancements as well as its contribution the Boston. "Not only was the city's need for increased capacity met, the local community has been given a new symbol of civic pride," she said. "The Zakim bridge epitomizes the philosophy of form following function, which makes it a civil engineering marvel."