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ASCE MLAB 2020 Project Awards

Los Angeles County is home to remarkable engineering feats, requiring innovation, coordination, and determination to bring an improved quality of life to Angelenos and beyond. We are proud to present our 2020 project awards! A special thank you to our MLAB Awards Chair, Paul Lee.




Outstanding Big Data Project

Analysis of Historical Leaks to Reduce Water Distribution Pipeline Failures

Los Angeles County Department of Public Works

Waterworks Districts

Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, Waterworks Division serves water to approximately 240,000 customers in Malibu, Kagel Canyon, Val Verde, Acton, and the Antelope Valley. We strive to provide reliable, high-quality water and responsive customer care in a safe, cost-effective, sustainable, and environmentally responsible manner. In-depth analysis of leak data will allow us to make decisions backed by data on future projects such as pipeline replacement. These efforts to reduce water losses through data-driven projects will contribute to a sustainable future and build resiliency.


Outstanding Water Project

Second Lower Feeder PCCP Rehabilitation - Reach 1 and 4

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California


System reliability is a core component of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s (Metropolitan) mission, and the agency has embraced a proactive, systematic program for the rehabilitation of its large-diameter prestressed concrete cylinder pipelines (PCCP). The $2.4 billion program focuses on the PCCP portions of five existing feeders in Metropolitan’s service area. Basic program goals are to reduce the risk of unplanned outages, perform the work in a cost-effective manner, minimize impacts to member agency deliveries, and take advantage of opportunities to improve system flexibility and reliability. By objectively ranking and prioritizing PCCP reaches requiring rehabilitation, Metropolitan has developed a strategy to meet these goals.

Maintaining water deliveries to service connections during construction influenced many of the decisions for shutdown durations and locations of temporary bulkheads. A comparison of rehabilitation alternatives determined that relining the feeder with an internal coiled steel pipe liner was the most cost-effective rehabilitation method, resulting in faster installation and reduced construction costs. Other effective strategies that were addressed during the detailed design included minimizing downtime for deliveries to member agencies, reducing impacts to traffic flow, sequencing construction and reach isolation, and coordinating public outreach with local agencies and neighbors. Implementation of the Second Lower Feeder PCCP Rehabilitation Reach 1 and Reach 4 construction contracts was a collaborative effort among Metropolitan, its member agencies, the design consultant, Black & Veatch; the contractors, J.F. Shea Construction and Kiewit Corporation; and the local agencies and communities. All stakeholder parties worked together with a solution-driven approach which resulted in a project that was deemed a success and garnered accolades from stakeholders including the local residents. An excerpt from a neighbor’s note of appreciation exemplifies the project achievement: "Without fail, this is one of the best work crews that has ever been in our neighborhood."


Outstanding Bridge Project

"Red Car" Multi-Use Bridge over Los Angeles River

City of Los Angeles,

Bureau of Engineering,

Bridge Improvement Division


In 1929, the Pacific Electric Railroad Company built a six-span bridge over the Los Angeles River to carry the Red Car along its Los Angeles-Glendale Line. When Pacific Electric ceased operations in the early 1950's, the superstructure of this railroad bridge was demolished. The piers and abutments remained untouched in the channel. While a City’s interdepartmental task force contemplated potential implementation projects in the development of the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan, the community of Atwater Village petitioned for the construction of a footbridge over the existing piers and abutments.

After much collaboration with community members, the Bureau of Engineering Bridge Improvement Division (BOE/BID) was commissioned to build a new bridge, the "Red Car" Multi-Use Bridge, as part of the Glendale-Hyperion Bridges retrofit and rehabilitation project.

During the construction of seismic retrofit and widening of the main bridges on Glendale-Hyperion corridor, the complicated traffic detour would demand frequent closure of traffic lanes and sidewalks. The environmental document identified the new bridge, located about 100 feet downstream from the main bridges, to be used as mitigation – an alternative route for safe pedestrian passage through the construction zone.

From the onset of the pedestrian bridge development, the community wanted the design of the new bridge to express the ‘elegance of simpleness’ as reclamation of its community identity. BOE/BID decided on a simple, yet aesthetic, prefabricated steel truss as the structural type. The 430-ft long, 14-ft clear width, three-span truss is supported by two retrofitted Red Car piers and abutments. A meandering pathway leads from the northerly touchdown of the new bridge to join the sidewalk of northbound Glendale Boulevard.

A strip of LED lights contained in handrails on each side of the walkway lights the walking surface at night. A simple 6" deep steel element runs the length of the bridge under the lighting and is painted red in memory of the Red Car traveling over the River along the same alignment more than 70 years ago.

The "Red Car" Bridge is located in the center of the most scenic stretch of the Los Angeles River. The simple truss structure is intentionally selected to optimize views of the revitalized Los Angeles River and the surrounding context by minimizing the side enclosures, allowing increased opportunities for photography and observation. The location of the bridge generously offers a unique panoramic view of the magnificent monumental Glendale-Hyperion Bridges 100 feet in front of it, with the hillside of Griffith Park as its natural backdrop.

Project design partners included Psomas and Gruen Associates. The construction contractor was Reyes Construction.


Outstanding Energy Project

AES Huntington Beach Energy Project and Alamitos Energy Center

AES Corporation


AES Corporation and Kiewit Power Constructors have gone above and beyond to help meet California’s clean energy goals by replacing AES’ older, 1950’s-era Power Generating units with cleaner, more efficient power plants in Long Beach and Huntington Beach. The AES Huntington Beach Energy Project (HBEP) and Alamitos Energy Center (AEC) are each highly efficient, combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plants in 2x1 configuration which eliminate the use of ocean water for cooling purposes, reduce fresh water use by 70%, and cut emission rates by approximately 50% due to their fast start-up and rapid response capabilities. The deep foundations across both sites consisted of over 15,000 auger-cast-in-place piles and 175 underground shear panels to improve site soil conditions and meet seismic requirements. AES leveraged the near-identical footprint of the plants to complete the projects ahead of schedule, under cost, and with over 3.5MM Man Hours without a lost time injury by seamlessly moving lessons learned and best practices back and forth between the design and construction of each plant. The project’s success can be attributed to the unique and innovative approach to the design and construction, which was developed and executed by one highly-talented and safety-minded team across two separate sites. This approach increased collaboration amongst all groups from project development, design, and construction, to commissioning and operations. Both AES and Kiewit were composed of individuals with a wide range of experience. Experienced leaders effectively guided and developed less experienced teammates throughout the project, creating a collaborative, successful team. The Huntington Beach Energy Project (HBEP) and Alamitos Energy Center (AEC) will support the region's energy needs for 20+ years.


Outstanding Water / Wastewater Treatment Project

Regional Recycled Water Advanced Purification Center

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California


The Regional Recycled Water Advanced Purification Center is a 500,000 gallon-per-day demonstration facility designed to test an innovative advanced water treatment process train for potable reuse. The project is a partnership between The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County (Sanitation Districts). It will demonstrate an effective purification process for the Regional Recycled Water Program, a water reuse effort that could eventually produce up to 150 million gallons of purified water and a new reliable water supply for Southern California.

The Regional Recycled Water Advanced Purification Center began operations in October 2019 and is located at the Sanitation Districts’ Joint Water Pollution Control Plant (JWPCP) in Carson. The facility purifies treated wastewater from the JWPCP using an innovative three-step purification process consisting of membrane bioreactors , reverse osmosis and an ultraviolet light/advanced oxidation process. Key goals of the demonstration facility include testing this innovative purification process, ensuring it produces water safe for potable reuse, and obtaining regulatory approval of the process.

Metropolitan and the Sanitation Districts are working with the State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water and the Los Angeles and Orange County Regional Water Quality Control Boards for regulatory approval. Once water quality testing demonstrates that the resulting purified water meets all requirements for replenishing groundwater basins, the process would be approved by regulators and may be used in water reuse projects throughout California.

The Regional Recycled Water Advanced Purification Center allows Metropolitan and the Sanitation Districts to optimize operations, identify costs, gather operational data, and develop design parameters needed for a future full-scale facility. Furthermore, the facility is used to showcase the project to the public and gain support for this potential new source of water for Southern California.


Outstanding Community Improvement Project

Safe Routes to School: Little Street Demonstration Project

Los Angeles Department of Transportation


Safe Routes to School (SRTS) brings safety improvements to the streets of school neighborhoods, and safety education programs into school communities, partnering Los Angeles Department of Transportation's (LADOT) Vision Zero and City of Los Angeles Green New Deal milestones.

The 2019 SRTS Little Street Demonstration (Pop-Up) project at Esperanza Elementary School in Westlake brought together visionary engineering and educational programs to showcase the program’s mission to be agile and innovative. Engineering improvements trialed during the temporary transformation reflected the program’s community based approach to developing improvement recommendations – which began in Spring of 2017 with a community Walking Safety Assessment to identify local transportation challenges and guide the development of the school’s customized SRTS plan. Over the same three years, SRTS supported programs including annual Walk to School Days, the Student Travel Talley Project, monthly safety campaigns, and a Student Safety Valet to facilitate safety during drop-off/pick-up times.

In Los Angeles, SRTS has been driven by the passion of Margot Ocañas for student safety, innovative approaches to implementation, and persistence for building lasting inter- and intra-agency relationships to institutionalize change for school communities for nearly a decade. The Little Street Demonstration project was not only successful due to the immediate impacts on the community, but also because it became a rallying point for the SRTS program, garnering attention from Council District 1, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), and LADOT. This success is visible in by Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s proactive identification of funding for final design and construction of the Little Street projects, and two additional demonstration efforts (one pending roll out as COVID-19 pandemic guidelines are loosened), and improved collaboration with LAUSD to formalize SRTS relationships.

Project partners included KOA Corporation and Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates.


Outstanding Applied Mapping Technology Project

LADWP Water Information Network Project

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

LADWP Water Information Network (WIN) Project is awarded for its genuine efforts to help provide quality drinking water using advance technologies, and for its accomplishments in improving the efficiency of LADWP Water System operations, saving time and resources for all the employees. Aiming to provide a centralized data platform for all the users, combining legacy data systems with the newest trends in internet of things (IoT), Big Data and artificial intelligence (AI), WIN Project broke barriers in both technological design and business case development. Its achievements may pave the ways for the LADWP Water System to become a future Smart Utility leader.


Outstanding Historical Renovation Project

South Park Historic East Area

City of Los Angeles,

Department of Recreation and Parks


Since it was built in 1899, South Park has provided 18 acres of recreation and green space to the residents of South Los Angeles. At that time, new housing subdivisions were quickly replacing the walnut and orange groves that were common in that part of the City. The Parks Department began transforming it into a well-cultivated public garden with colorful flower beds and multiple species of trees. The community embraced the park, and began enjoying concerts at the bandshell, picnicking under the shade trees and taking flower-scented strolls. South Park became an especially popular place for casual games; card players filled the park's tables, while horseshoe pitchers took to the lawns. The main attraction was the dramatic “Palm Walkway” which was lined with a double row of majestic palm trees.

Over time, other improvements were added: a new Recreation Center and pool were built in the 1950’s by well-known Los Angeles Architect Paul Williams, and a new Gymnasium was added later in the 1980’s. Unfortunately, over time the historic walkways faded away, and the park lost much of its original vibrancy and appeal. In 2014, Councilman Curren Price Jr. and the Department of Recreation and Parks engaged the Bureau of Engineering’s Architectural Division to develop a new Master Plan for the revival of South Park, with the goal of recapturing its historic feel and cultural importance to the local community while serving the needs of today’s residents.

The current phase of the renovation of South Park covers the entire eastern portion of the park from the recreation center and pool building to Avalon Street. The highlight of this phase is the restoration of the iconic Palm Walkway, which has been reborn as the social backbone of the park with a new central walkway connecting picnic tables, benches & game tables where people can congregate and socialize. Historically-inspired light fixtures and colorful planting beds with decorative steel edging complete the scene. In addition, the community will also enjoy: new walkways throughout the park which have been carefully aligned to re-create the historic layout, a perimeter fitness path with outdoor exercise equipment groupings, relocated basketball courts with sports lighting, a synthetic turf play area, renovated bandshell viewing area, a new playground, new decorative pool fencing, picnic areas with barbecues and new site security lighting throughout the rest of the eastern park area. A total of 300 new trees have been planted to restore and enhance the shade canopy of the park for the next generation. The renovated eastern park area has proven to be a great step forward for South Park and will provide a strong foundation for its continuing role in this community."


Outstanding Sustainable Engineering Project

Terminal Island Water Reclamation Plant Aeration System Replacement

City of Los Angeles,

Bureau of Engineering,

and LA Sanitation


The TIWRP Aeration System Replacement is one of the most efficient in the state and have resulted in projected energy savings of over $227,000 per year. Aeration system technology, blowers and aeration system, selected and implemented proved to be the most cost effected and sustainable providing dual function process air for the BNR and odor control. Retrofit to existing building and structures included upgrades to reduce operation costs and improve environmental impacts.

The project was completed under a project management and construction manager- City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Engineering, Environmental Engineering Division partnered with ConAD and LASAN-The Owner and engineer consultants, with design completion in 365 calendar days and construction in 365 calendar days respectively.


Outstanding Operations and Maintenance Project

Machinery Inventory Review Program of Water Distribution Facilities

Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, Waterworks Division

Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, Waterworks Division provides retail water to approximately 240,000 customers in Kagel Canyon, Malibu, Val Verde, Acton, and the Antelope Valley. The Machinery Inventory Review Program (MIRP) is a paradigm shift from run-to-failure to preventive maintenance. MIRP will help Public Works to provide, reliable, high quality water and responsive customer care in a safe, cost effective, sustainable, and environmentally responsible manner. The program implements innovative technologies and promotes the ability to remotely monitor data and control assets as an important component for effective Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).


Outstanding Small Project

Walnut Storm Water Capture and Groundwater Replenishment Basin

City of Torrance


In the 1950s, stormwater runoff from new housing developments in Torrance was routed to various sinks, where it would slowly seep into the soil, removing harmful pollutants and recharging the groundwater aquifer used as a drinking water supply. Following storm drain improvements in the 1970s, runoff was rerouted to Machado Lake, a 40-acre freshwater reservoir in Los Angeles, and dry basins were left behind. Currently there are impairments to Machado Lake’s designated beneficial uses caused by pollutants in stormwater runoff.

Located in a residential neighborhood in southeast Torrance, Walnut Basin is two acres and has the capacity to store approximately 23 acre-feet of water. The project called for the installation of a diversion structure, sized to take dry-weather and stormwater runoff from storms up to the 85th percentile storm event, while allowing runoff from larger events to continue down the storm drain unimpeded. Runoff is routed to a hydrodynamic separator pre-treatment unit, where debris and medium-to-large grain sediments are removed. After passing through the unit, runoff enters a 48-inch reinforced concrete pipe, which was jacked into place in a narrow easement between two houses, that conveys water to Walnut Basin. Riprap was installed at the Basin entrance to reduce runoff velocity and prevent erosion. The project recharges 44 acre-feet of runoff per year, providing water for 88 families. Implementation of this project accomplishes most of the required reduction from the critical baseline load for most pollutants, including nutrients, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, bacteria, and lead. Future developments will include a Basin Habitat Restoration Plan to remove non-native flora and install drought-resistant California Native plants, based on the completed phenology study.

The cost of the first phase was approximately $900,000, including construction and design. The project was 50% funded with residual state grant funding from Proposition 13 (2000) and Proposition 40 (2002).

Project patners included CWE, SRD Engineering, Terracon Consultants, Inc., Murakawa Communications, and C-Below.


Outstanding Urban and Land Development Project

LADOT Modernizing Transportation Analysis

Los Angeles Department of Transportation


The Modernizing Transportation Analysis project was a multi-year effort led by the LADOT and Los Angeles City Planning to implement Senate Bill (SB) 743. SB 743 requires all cities in California to update their transportation analysis procedures to measure vehicle miles traveled prior to July 1, 2020.

On July 30, 2019, LA City Council voted unanimously to recommend adopting the new transportation impact thresholds a year ahead of the mandatory deadline. These recommended transportation assessment guidelines provide a transparent impact disclosure process and new monitoring procedures to ensure that developments are meeting required objectives and prioritizing safety and access for all users. Research has shown that this shift streamlines development of vibrant, walkable communities and reduces housing and transportation costs. Streamlined infill development will allow more people to live closer to where they work, shop and play, reducing regional congestion and saving time for other activities.


Outstanding Construction Project

Kenneth Road Rehabilitation Project

City of Glendale


The Kenneth Road Rehabilitation Project is located on Kenneth Road between Sonora Avenue to the boundary of the City of Burbank near Alameda Avenue. A vital commuter artery, the project resurfaced the roadway, constructed new sidewalks, repaired existing sidewalks and driveways, and replaced substandard curb ramps. Project challenges included challenging topography and terrain to implement street and sidewalk improvements to provide for safe and uninterrupted access for all forms of transportation within the project limits and to and from the Cities of Glendale and Burbank.

The project embraces and implements the City of Glendale's vision for an active and healthy community, through many of the current plans, policies, and projects, and constructing improvements to benefit all forms of transportation in an important east-west City corridor with multi-City benefits. The project's construction contractor was Excel Paving Company.


Outstanding Environmental Engineering Project

Aqueous Ammonia Storage and Spill Containment Enhancements

City of Los Angeles,

LA Sanitation and Environment


Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant (HWRP) is one the largest treatment plants in the United States with an average dry weather capacity of 450 mgd. HWRP treats municipal wastewater from the City of Los Angeles so that the environmental impact from the City to Santa Monica Bay can be dramatically reduced. LA Sanitation & Environment’s (LASAN) is the owner and Bureau of Engineering, Environmental Engineering Division design/build the Aqueous Ammonia Storage & Spill Containment Enhancements Project (total cost of $3.0 million). This is part of the digester gas that is a byproduct that is generated when the solids extracted from the wastewater are stabilized in a biological treatment process. The cost of the Hyperion Bioenergy Facility was $170 million and uses this gas to power gas turbine electrical generators for the production of electricity on site. For the storage of ammonium hydroxide solution, these steps have been taken on daily basis to ensure protection in the event of an emergency. Existing health and safety programs; our internal management response procedures; and ongoing actions that are designed to prevent or minimize impacts of accidental releases of ammonium hydroxide solution to the environment. HWRP prepared an emergency action plan to handle any potential accidental releases. Ammonia Storage facility has two 11,000 gallon tanks for the storage of 19% aqueous ammonia solution. Tanks are limited to a maximum fill volume of 10,000 gallons each. Ammonia Safety Systems set up: Canopy along with deluge system to keep ammonia vapors from evaporating in case of a leak; Smoke detectors, heat detectors, and manual pull stations; fire water sprinkler system; Ammonia leak detectors; aqueous ammonia storage tank contains a pressure relief valve and various pressure and level alarms and shut down safeguards; Process Hazard Analysis presents the details concerning these safeguards; Volume of the underground concrete storage facility is 21,500 gallons.


Outstanding Bikeways and Trails Project

Implementation of the Bicycle Transportation Plan Project, Phase 3

City of Glendale


Glendale recognizes the value of becoming more bicycle friendly. The City wishes to offer opportunities for healthier lifestyles, reduce dependence on automobiles, reduce global warming gases and air pollution, reduce energy consumption, and create more desirable neighborhoods. The implementation of the third phase of the Bicycle Transportation Plan further helps the City of Glendale and its residents progress to an advanced stage of integrating bicycles into the transportation system by installing Class II (bike lane) and Class III (sharrow) facilities on six centerline miles of eight different streets and wayfinding signage. The project contractor was All-American Asphalt.


Outstanding Parks and Recreation Project

Lincoln Park Recreation Center Pool and Bathhouse Replacement Project

City of Los Angeles,

Bureau of Engineering,

Architectural Division


With its artistic and sustainable design and state-of-art equipment and features, this new pool and bathhouse facility brought many programs and benefits to the community members. Since its grand opening in July 2019, this pool and its bathhouse have become a community favorite.

Its 4,300 square-foot new bathhouse and administration office is integrated with the existing senior center. This facility is designed with natural ventilation and energy efficient mechanical systems and uses channel glass wall to maximize natural lighting.

The 30-foot high powder-coated perforated panel facade covering the east side wall not only provides an astonishing visual effect from the open parking lot, but also functions as shade to the large window opening to the staff office. The colorful vertical planting wall and the richly planted courtyard between the existing senior center and swimming pool provides a pleasing and peaceful resting place for all community members. The operable fence, which separates the pool from the courtyard, functions both as pool enclosure and access gate, and has an architectural appeal with its decorated panel.

The new 120-foot long, 75-foot wide, 9,000 square-foot lap pool was designed with a shallow-deep-shallow configuration. It allows for up to 8 lanes of competitive swimming in the deep middle section, while leaving the two shallow areas to be programmed as needed.

Outside the pool fencing near the main park is a 1,600 square-foot splash pad with children play amenities such as Bucket Trio, Rainbow Spray, and water jelly, which will bring a full day fun to kids of all ages. Elevated landscape platforms and spectator concrete benches provide a space for parents and guardians at the north end of the splash pad area.


Outstanding Architectural Engineering Project

City of Los Angeles Fire Station No. 39 (Van Nuys)

City of Los Angeles,

Bureau of Engineering,

Department of Public Works


Fire Station 39 is located on Van Nuys Street directly across the street from a residential community, surrounded by a predominantly commercial and manufacturing zoned area. The existing vacant lot surrounded by a chain link fence, prior to construction, was the view for many years. Fire Station 39 in the Van Nuys Area of Council District 6 brought beautification to the corner of Oxnard Street and Vesper Avenue.

Fire Station 39 is a state of the art two-story, 18,533 square foot Fire Station. The station has four heavy apparatus bays and three light apparatus bays and provides working, living, and sleeping spaces, as well as restrooms, lockers, showers, fitness, and training functions. Fire Station 39 was designed to achieve a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Silver rating. Some of the materials, features and methods of construction include:

  • The use of 7,300 square feet of water-efficient plants and shrubs, and 24 new trees of various species.

  • Materials with high reused and/or recycled content.

  • Saving in energy and water usage of 50% over code compliant designs. Designed to reduce stormwater run-off and to use stormwater for irrigating planting areas.

  • EPA Energy Star “Cool Roof” with reflective color coating to reduce solar heat gain.

  • Solatube Innovative Tubular Daylight technologies to allow natural sunlight for 90% of spaces.

  • Using energy-efficient lighting, heating, and cooling equipment.

  • Use of photo sensors to control the lighting, and the use of low-flow automatic faucets /toilets and rain sensors for reduced water consumption.

A special relationship between the neighbors and the Los Angeles Fire Department came together, to bridge the gap and enhance the community, by providing a sound barrier for the adjacent homes and an innovative and functional Fire Station for the Los Angeles Fire Department.

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© 2020 by American Society of Civil Engineers Metropolitan Los Angeles Branch