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Mid America state DOT projects win regional awards

News | August 22, 2023 | By:

Seven state department of transportation projects from Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Kentucky, and Wisconsin recently won regional 2023 America’s Transportation Awards for the positive impacts those endeavors made on their respective communities; from adding adult changing rooms at rest stops to providing immediate assistance in the aftermath of a tornado.

Wisconsin DOT receiving the regional 2023 America’s Transportation Award. Photo courtesy of AASHTO.

Selected from a pool of 23 projects nominated by nine states in the Mid America Association of Transportation Officials (MAASTO), those projects are among 81 total nominations submitted by 36 state DOTs for the 2023 America’s Transportation Awards competition.

Created by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), AAA, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, this national competition highlights the infrastructure work conducted by state DOTs and the robust economic and quality of life benefits that work produces across the country.

“In addressing the transportation challenges of today and tomorrow, state DOTs demonstrate a strong determination to bring innovative solutions to their communities,” said Jim Tymon, AASHTO’s executive director. “The America’s Transportation Awards program serves as a testament to their endeavors, and I am excited to kick off the regional awards with MAASTO’s pioneering projects. These projects play a vital role in improving safety, enhancing mobility, and revitalizing transportation resources for drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit customers alike.”

The America’s Transportation Awards categorizes nominated projects into three groups – Quality of Life/Community Development, Operations Excellence, and Best Use of Technology & Innovation – to help further showcase the crucial role that transportation plays for motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, and public transit users.

All nominated projects first compete at the regional level against projects of their own size: “Small” (projects costing up to $25 million), “Medium” (projects costing between $25 million and $200 million), and “Large” (projects costing more than $200 million). This year’s winning Mid America regional projects are:

Iowa Department of Transportation’s Adult Changing Facilities in Iowa Rest Areas (Quality of Life/Community Development, Small category)

Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Willmar Rail Connector and Industrial Access Design-Build Project (Quality of Life/Community Development, Medium category)

Illinois Department of Transportation’s Jane Byrne Interchange (Quality of Life/Community Development, Large category)

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Mayfield Tornado Response (Operations Excellence, Small category)

Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s US 12/18 Flex Lane (Operations Excellence, Medium category)

Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Tribal Employment Rights and On-the-Job Training Partnership (Best Use of Technology & Innovation, Small category)

Illinois Department of Transportation’s Modernizing a Gateway: Weber Road Diverging Diamond Interchange (Best Use of Technology & Innovation, Medium category)

As the MAASTO region represented the final regional contest, the “Top 12” list of finalists will be announced in early September – comprised of the three highest scoring projects from each region. Those top 12 contenders will then compete for the two 2023 America’s Transportation Awards national prizes. The Grand Prize recipient will be selected by an independent panel of judges, while the People’s Choice Award will be bestowed upon the project that garners the highest number of online votes from the general public.

AASHTO will unveil the winners of these prizes at its annual meeting in November 2023 in Indianapolis. Both the Grand Prize and the People’s Choice Award winners will receive $10,000 each towards their preferred scholarship or charity.

For more information contact Allie Freedman at or 202-624-3690 Visit to learn more about this year’s MAASTO nominees. Information courtesy of AASHTO.

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