Public Works Project of the Year


The APWA Public Works Project of the Year Award was established to promote excellence in the management, administration, and implementation of public works projects by recognizing the alliance between the managing agency, the consultant/architect/engineer, and the contractor who work together to complete public works projects.

Awards are given in four divisions:

· Projects less than $5 million

· Projects of $5 million, but less than $25 million

· Projects of $25 million to $75 million

· Projects more than $75 million

And five categories:

· Structures—to include new public structures or the preservation or rehabilitation of existing public structures including, municipal buildings and parks. Other structures as defined in the Historic Restoration/Preservation and Transportation categories shall not be considered in the structures category

· Transportation—to include roads, bridges, mass transit that serve any or all modes of travel, including bicycles and foot traffic. Other transportation projects as defined in the Historical Restoration/Preservation and Structures categories shall not be considered in the Transportation category

· Environment—to include treatment and recycling facilities, landfill reclamation projects, and sewer projects

· Historical Restoration/Preservation—to include historical restoration, preservation, and adaptive reuse of existing buildings, structures, and facilities, that are 75 years or older to qualify as historical

· Disaster or Emergency Construction Repair—to include the techniques and timing for safety, community relations, environmental protection, adverse conditions, and additional considerations.



Public works projects must be developed, owned, and maintained by public agencies. To be eligible for nomination, a project must have been “substantially completed” and available for public and/or agency use within two calendar years prior to nomination. If a project has multiple phases or segments, then “substantially completed” will be construed as that point when the final phase or segment is 90 percent completed and available for public and/or agency use.


Public Works Project of the Year award Recipients are chosen by a qualified panel of judges selected by the awards Committee.


Criteria to be used in the selection process include:

  1.  Use of good construction management techniques and completion of the project on schedule
  2.  Safety performance and demonstrated awareness of the need for a good overall safety program for workers and the public during and after construction, where applicable
  3.  Community relations as evidenced by efforts to minimize public inconvenience due to construction, safety precautions to protect public lives and property, provision of observation areas, guided tours, or other means of improving relations between agency and the public
  4.  Demonstrated awareness for the need to protect the environment. This includes any special considerations given to particular environmental concerns raised during the course of the project, as well as climate change and/or resiliency components for long-term community benefit
  5.  Unusual accomplishments under adverse conditions including, but not limited to age or condition of the facility, adverse weather, soil or other site conditions over which there is no control
  6.  Additional conditions deemed of importance to the public works agency, such as exceptional efforts to maintain quality control and, if value engineering is used, construction innovations as evidenced by time and/or money saving techniques developed and/or successfully utilized
  7.  Use of alternative materials, practices, or funding that demonstrates a commitment to sustainability, climate change resiliency, and/or use of sustainable infrastructure rating system or the equivalent.
Nomination Process

Nominations of projects can only be made by the managing agency. Submissions are limited to 20 pages. Please address each of the following areas in your nomination, adhering to the sequence above. No letters of recommendations, please.

Projects that receive a chapter Award will automatically be forwarded by the Awards Committee to the National APWA competition in time to meet the national deadline. Projects that do NOT receive a Chapter Award will still be considered for the National Competition and may also be forwarded on by the judges. Note that a project under consideration for a National Award may only be nominated once for recognition as “Project of the Year” under any category.

If your project is selected as a Chapter Award winner, you will be asked to provide a one-page Press Release, in electronic format, that clearly and concisely describes the project and its value to the community and highlights why the project is worthy of special recognition (innovative engineering, challenges faced, overall social impact, etc)

The submittal should be sent to Jennifer Barlas, Wisconsin Chapter Awards Chair at The nomination and supporting data forms are available on the Chapter website, Awards – APWA Wisconsin Chapter.


January 31, annually


A designated representative of the public agency, contractor, and consultant are presented a plaque at the Awards Recognition Ceremony during the annual APWA Wisconsin Chapter Spring Conference and winners are featured in APWA publications.

  Nominate Project Here

Check List

January 31st-11:59 pm CT

Project of the Year Awards


Congratulations to the following recipients of the 2022 Projects of the Year Awards!

City of Janesville – Janesville East Town Square

Owner: City of Janesville

Consultant: Strand Associates, Inc.

Contractor: Kraemer North America

The city has embarked on a multi-year, multi-phased strategy to revitalize its downtown and ancillary corridors to improve the quality of life for its residents and attract and promote activity in the downtown area. In 2020 the East Town Square, located along the Rock River was completed. The East Town Square included custom light fixtures, gateway features, a kiosk and pavilion similar to the west side. The roadway area is essentially a flexible use space – parking for local businesses that can be transformed into community space for events. The East Town Square has an activity deck to support outdoor exercise, a shaded plaza with tables to allow workers to be outside and a gas fire pit.

Some of the unique features of this project include:

  • Repair and preservation of a river wall that was constructed in 1930.
  • Substantial coordination for construction staging since the site was very tight and multiple construction operations had to share the space.
  • Since the project was part of several other downtown projects, the City in a sense, acted as the construction manager and was able to control the overall schedule and control costs effectively.

City of Madison – Ecological Restoration of Stormwater Infrastructure in UW Madison Arboretum

Owner: UW-Madison

Consultant: Strand Associates, Inc.

Contractor: Integrity Grading & Excavating, Inc.

The Wisconsin DOA, Division of Facilities Development and UW Madison embarked on a 20-year ecological restoration of the Arboretum back in 2001. The restoration of the Curtis Prairie is considered the birthplace of ecological restoration when it was restored in 1935. The prairie is downstream of a 167-acre urban watershed that includes erosive flows from Madison’s West Beltline. The Curtis Pond restoration is the culmination of all the restoration projects conceived in 2001. Elements of this project included access skirting around the Curtis Prairie, flume replacement, clay liner for groundwater protection, trenchless rehabilitation of a 36-inch CMP, restored stream crossing and native buffer restoration.

Some of the unique features of this project include:

  • Incorporating a pretreatment pond via a sand and trash collector.
  • Using temporary clean access mats to guard against invasive species entering the project site.
  • Incorporating environmentally sensitive specifications into the construction documents to address air quality, comprehensive erosion control, dewatering, deep-tilling for compaction mitigation and provisions for stable by-pass flows during storm events.


City of Kenosha – Kenosha Fire Station No. 1

Owner: City of Kenosha

Consultant: SEH, Inc.

Contractor: Stuckey Construction Co, Inc.

The Kenosha Fire Station No. 1 is an innovative project that combines architectural best practices with preserving a sense of community and history. The station is on the former site of the Bain School. Since the school had historic significance to the community, many of the features of the exterior mimic the historic school building, including salvaged items from the schools building and site. The City was thoughtful from the start about the adverse conditions with safety and access in the neighborhood that the station serves both during and after construction.

Some of the unique features of this project include:

  • Access to the site was limited and the staging area was small due to the reconstruction of the adjacent 22nd Avenue that was taking place at the same time.
  • Funding was through HUD; therefore the contractor had to maintain compete records and comply with all HUD requirements including using new, local workforce and wages.
  • Gabion walls filled with demolished materials from the original Bain school was provided to protect the people, property and staff vehicles near the high incident intersection of 22nd Ave and 52nd Street.

City of Fitchburg – North Fish Hatchery Road

Owner: City of Fitchburg

Consultant: KL Engineering

Contractor: Integrity Grading & Excavating, Inc.

This project entailed the redesign of 1.5 miles of 6-lane divided roadway south of the Madison Beltline. The road serves as the gateway to Fitchburg. Development on this roadway includes commercial, residential and recreational properties and is a major commuter route. An extensive public engagement campaign was utilized to obtain feedback from the varied stakeholders of the corridor to insure all types of users were engaged. In addition to roadway and public utility improvements, the project features include sustainable storm water features, new decorative retaining walls, pedestrian bridge, expanded shared use path and mass transit amenities, adaptive traffic signal technologies and decorative soft and hard streetscape elements.

Some of the unique features of this project include:

  • Installation of a mini-roundabout.
  • New technologies were implemented that allows the roadway to become a “smart” corridor.
  • Due to a 150 year-old fish hatchery located east of the project, groundwater monitoring wells were installed in order that a plan could be created ahead of the water main construction to avoid and mitigate groundwater related issues that would affect the fish hatchery.

City of Kaukauna and Village of Little Chute – Nelson Family Heritage Crossing

Owners: City of Kaukauna & Village of Little Chute

Consultant: Graef

Contractor: Michaels Foundations

Teamwork and cooperation were paramount to the success of this bicycle/pedestrian bridge across the Fox River, connecting Kaukauna and Little Chute. The 1,131 foot bridge provides a critical, safe crossing splitting the distance between high-volume multi-lane roadway bridges located 1.5 miles upstream and 1.5 mile downstream. The crossing was needed in the Loop the Locks system to realize the trails goal of achieving a full loop.

Some of the unique features of this project include:

  • Construction experts were consulted to devise construction methods that worked within the busy navigation channel, without disturbing river traffic.
  • The bridge (and associated trail) are both ADA accessible throughout, meeting code requirements regarding, slopes and widths while providing an inviting location for those with mobility challenges to access and view a formerly inaccessible area of the river.
  • With substantial interest from many area residential property owners, there was significant interest from the start which lead to exploration of a high number of alternatives that included location, alignment, design style, lighting and operations.

City of Kenosha – Storm Water Improvement Projects

Owner: City of Kenosha

Consultant: Ruekert & Mielke, Inc.

Contractors: A.W. Oakes & Sons, Inc. and Zignego Construction

In 2017, back to back rainfall events resulted in catastrophic local and regional flooding. The floods raised immediate health concerns and caused significant damage to community homes, businesses and infrastructure. Kenosha amplified their short and long term storm water management efforts that they had been working on since 2012. Ultimately, this led to implementing several storm water improvement projects. The Kenosha Engine Plant project included a 90 acre-foot flood control facility; the Georgetown project included a 50 acre-foot detention and flood control facility and the McKinley basin project included a new storm sewer to alleviate flooding. The plan is to continue to implement a flood control project every year until 2027.

Some of the unique features of this project include:

  • Creation of a digital GIS-based Story Map to help community members learn about the City’s storm water management efforts.
  • The Georgetown facility was designed to seamlessly integrate with the ecological, aesthetic and storm water benefits of the existing landscape.
  • At the Kenosha Engine Plant site project, a designated brownfield, the WDNR and Kenosha Water Utility would not permit the City to discharge contaminated water into the sanitary sewer. The design included a “dirty bay” where contaminated water was stored, tested and pre-treated and a “clean bay” where the pre-treated water was re-tested before discharging into the sanitary sewer system.


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