Kentucky infrastructure project awarded engineering design feat of the year

Complex environmental works hailed for seamlessly integrating into historically significant landmark

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Kentucky-based sewer collection system improvement project has been heralded by the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) during its 2019 National Design-Build Project/Team Awards competition.

The annual program promotes exceptional diversity in project size, sector and geography while celebrating the innovative and collaborative teams who produce projects that inspire. Covering industries from aviation to water/wastewater, and everything in between, 2019’s project winners were honored at DBIA’s Design-Build Conference and Expo on Nov. 7 in Las Vegas.

Receiving the coveted Best in Engineering Design Award and a National Award of Excellence (water/wastewater), the $78 million Southwestern Parkway Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Basin project is a component of Louisville/Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District’s (MSD) federal Consent Decree to mitigate CSO discharges to local waterways.

Located in Shawnee Park, part of Louisville’s Olmsted Park System listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the project consisted of the design and construction of a large “capture and release” system to temporarily store CSO’s during wet weather events and gradually release them back to the collection system for treatment when capacity is available. New facilities included a 20 million gallon storage basin; associated washdown systems; a 30 million gallon per day effluent pump station; CSO diversion structures; and associated conveyance piping.

Preservation of Olmstedian design features in Shawnee Park – in particular the pastoral, undulating surface of the Great Lawn – made it vital that the project team design and construct a facility virtually invisible to the public. To achieve this goal, the basin was constructed below the surface of the Great Lawn with a walk-out operational access point concealed by park topography.

Through the progressive design-build delivery process, the project provided triple bottom line benefits (social, economic, and environmental) for the community. At project kickoff, a multidisciplinary team of MSD (owner), Brown and Caldwell (owner’s advisor), Ulliman Schutte Construction (design-builder), and Burgess & Niple (engineer) “developed an outreach process for stakeholders to keep them involved,” said MSD’s Executive Director Tony Parrott in this project overview video.

Outreach efforts resulted in support for a project that reduces CSOs while simultaneously incorporating community enhancements. These features include restoration of a historic structure for youth learning opportunities; improvements to basketball and spray ground facilities; landscaping; drainage enhancements via the creation of multi-purpose fields; and a new open-air pavilion and restroom structure. In addition to community enhancements, the project stimulated the economy by employing a 76% local labor workforce.

“We join DBIA in commending MSD for their visionary leadership, community engagement, and collaborative approach to this important project,” said Brown and Caldwell Midwest Area Leader Tim Block.

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