Columbus’ Scioto Greenways Project was recently named a 2016 Public Works Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association (APWA). The project is being honored with APWA’s Project of the Year award in the Environment category for projects costing between $25 - $75 million. The Project of the Year Award was established to promote excellence in the management and administration of public works projects by recognizing the alliance between the managing agency, the consultant/architect/engineer and the contractor, working together complete public works projects.

For 2016, the team of winners includes City of Columbus, OH as the managing agency; Messer Construction Company, as the primary contractor; and Stantec, as the primary engineering and environmental consultant, who will be presented with the award during APWA’s 2016 PWX conference, August 28-31, in Minneapolis, MN. This year, APWA selected projects in five categories including Structures, Transportation, Environment, Historical Restoration/Preservation and Disaster or Emergency Construction/Repair.

Millions of dollars of public and private development in the River South area helped revitalize the Scioto Riverfront in Downtown Columbus. Although substantial public and private investments along the Scioto River had created world-class amenities, the river remained a slow-moving, overly-wide pool of sediment-laden water, due to the presence of low head dams. The Scioto Greenways project involved three primary components: removing the Main Street Dam, restoring the Scioto River channel, and creating 33 acres of new green space.

The Main Street Dam was removed in 2013, restoring the natural flow of the river and improving the ecological systems and river habitat. The new riverbanks and restored river channel now provide additional recreation options, as well as opportunities to further leverage existing investments in the area through the creation of a stunning 33-acre greenway through Downtown Columbus.

Across the country, dam removal and river restoration projects have been shown to increase property values, encourage investment, and create vibrant communities. A healthy river that enables recreation and improves connectivity allows Downtown Columbus to thrive and ensure maximum economic, ecological, and social benefits. The additional green space created through the Scioto Greenways project also better connects Downtown to the Scioto Peninsula and East Franklinton, builds on recent park investments, creates links to the existing regional trail system, and serves as a catalyst for further private investment in Downtown.

American Public Works Association (APWA)

As part of this project, the Columbus-based Stantec design team developed the plans to remove the obsolete lowhead dam, narrow the sluggish river channel from 600 feet wide to 300 feet wide, and restore 7,000 linear feet of the river to its natural flow. This not only improved native habitats, but created the room for the expanse of new green space for recreational activities on both banks of the river.

The construction team was able to manage site logistics that allowed for thousands of trucks to drive in and out of the site safely, while preventing the public from entering the project site. No pedestrians were injured during the duration of the construction.

For more information or to request a complimentary press pass to the PWX Conference, please contact APWA Media Relations and Communications Manager, Laura Bynum,, or call 202.218.6736.

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