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METIS Center

Sustainable Infrastructure Awards


The Metis Center for Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering’s at Arizona State University is pleased to announce the third annual Sustainable Infrastructure Awards.

The award is intended to highlight cutting edge infrastructure practices that drive sustainability including those that address environmental, social, or emerging technology challenges, or the growing complex environments that infrastructure are expected to operate in. Phoenix-area infrastructure professionals from public, private, non-profit, and academic organizations are invited to submit their nominations. Nominations are limited to one per organization. Nomination packages will be reviewed by the Metis Center faculty. Awardees will receive a plaque acknowledging the innovative efforts of the organization on the nominated project. For reference, the previous Sustainable Infrastructure Awardees are listed below.

Nomination packages are brief (about two pages) and should conform to the precise requirements described within the form. In general this includes the project champion/contact, a short description of the project, the challenges that were addressed, and the sustainability outcome. It is due by 5pm MST on Friday, May 28, 2021. The nomination package should be uploaded as a single PDF file and include the completed two page nomination form plus any supplemental material (project photos, letters of support, and project documentation). Supplemental material is not required.

Metis Center 2021 Sustainable Infrastructure Awards Flyer
Nomination Fillable Form
Submission Package Upload



The Metis Center for Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering at Arizona State University is pleased to announce the awardees of the Sustainable Infrastructure Awards. The award is intended to highlight cutting edge infrastructure practices that drive sustainability including those that address environmental, social, or emerging technology challenges, or the growing complex environments where infrastructure is expected to operate. Phoenix-area infrastructure professionals from public, private, non-profit and academic organizations were invited to submit their nominations. Nomination packages were reviewed by the Metis Center faculty. 


2020 Sustainable Infrastructure Awardees

Arizona Department of Transportation: Highway Stormwater Pumps – Total Systems Reliability Project

Pumping station operators have tacit knowledge of the causes and effects of pump failures from their experience maintaining the hardware, but there is limited knowledge of how age, design, hardware condition, and environmental conditions contribute to affecting performance. Currently, ADOT pump operators use an Excel spreadsheet to assess “criticality” of pumping stations which relies entirely on manual inputs of current status data and a custom percent uptime metric that describes overall system status. The current Excel tool is critical for making day-to-day decisions about where to prioritize resources. However, it provides no predictive capabilities for how the hardware might perform into the future and where to prioritize preventative maintenance and capital improvements.

The project developed a dynamic reliability analysis decision-support tool to provide real-time information to operators considering hardware and environmental conditions to prioritize maintenance and rehabilitation. The tool is based on state-of-the-art statistical reliability methods. The tool is positioned to reduce costs associated with maintenance and rehabilitation of pumps while increasing reliability by identifying which hardware should be serviced ahead of failure. Since pumping stations are vulnerable to failure under heavy storm events, the tool will evaluate outcomes under different precipitation magnitude scenarios.

Gannett Fleming, Inc.: PHX Sky Train Stage 2 Automated People Mover System

The existing 3.2-mile PHX Sky Train® line connects the airport’s Valley Metro Rail Station to airport terminals. The Stage 2 extension, connecting the terminals to the Rental Car Center and Ground Transportation Center at 24th Street, will be a powerful catalyst for long-term airport growth and adjacent private development. It also supports the airport’s sustainability goals, helping reduce the daily vehicle count by 20,000. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, PHX was anticipated to serve 58 million travelers in 2024, up from 44 million in 2017. The opening of PHX Sky Train® Stage 2 is scheduled for 2022.

Gannett Fleming is the fixed-facilities designer of record for PHX Sky Train® Stage 2, providing guideway and support structure design from concept to completion. The project’s dual-lane guideway includes two depressed sections that will pass through underpasses built 19 to 26 feet below ground to carry trains below two future aircraft taxiways. The undercrossing structures were designed to facilitate taxiway construction without affecting train operations. The Stage 2 guideway will serve three new stations: the Rental Car Center Station, built into the upper level of the existing structure; the 24th Street Station, which will connect to nearby parking and ground transportation facilities and planned commercial development; and a station that will serve the airport’s future West Terminal. Design work at the third station includes splitting the guideway to accommodate a central platform and future terminal connections.

2019 Sustainable Infrastructure Awardees

Arizona Department of Transportation: Laguna Creek Bridge Scour Remediation

The Laguna Creek Bridge is within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation Reservation. This site is approximately 25 miles east of the town of Kayenta, Arizona. The original bridge structure was constructed in 1961 by the United States Department of Interior. In 1984, the original bridge was retrofitted with barriers. During the period from 2004 to 2008, bridge inspections identified excessive scour at both of the pier locations. In 2012, a replacement bridge was constructed just to the south of the previously existing bridge structure. Bridge abutments repairs and countermeasures were recommended but were found to be insufficient to address the current problem. Since then, inspection efforts continued to identify and monitor the accelerated meandering of the wash and subsequent undercutting of the abutment fill. The goal of the project was to provide protection of the existing bridge and roadway against the effects of local scour and severe channel meandering just upstream and downstream of the bridge crossing.

AZTEC Engineering Group, Inc: PVGRAd – A novel software for grading and structural optimization of photovoltaic solar power plants

AZTEC Engineering developed a very unique and proprietary simulation software for the most favorable design of ground-based photovoltaic solar power systems through optimization of grading and steel costs. PVGRAd is a novel 3D simulation tool developed entirely in AZTEC’s headquarters in Phoenix that combines the project site digital terrain model and the proposed photovoltaic solar power system layout to produce the optimized civil and structural design for the project automatically, based on a limited number of design parameters.

Banner Health, Facilities Operations: Remote Operations Center

In 2017, Banner leveraged experience and lessons learned by designing and developing a centralized Remote Operations Center (ROC). The ROC would be outfitted with the technology and skill sets needed to drive an enterprise-level energy program with an operational focus on achieving and sustaining energy savings indefinitely. Additionally, the ROC would leverage a cultural shift that emphasizes the importance of savings by making energy goals a part of everyone’s annual performance review. This tactic created shared accountability for sustained performance among all facilities operations staff.

Hunter Contracting: MAR 5 & Gila River Interpretive Trail

The MAR 5 site was chosen to begin restoring a healthy underground aquifer. It was decided the area above the aquifer would be used to create a place where members of the Gila River Indian Community could come to reconnect to the water that is such an integral part of their heritage. Neill + Young Associates designed what is now known as the Gila River Interpretive Trail, then Hunter Contracting set to work building the site. A one-mile walking trail allows visitors to enjoy nature. Ramada areas on the east side provide ample space for celebrations. The area on the west side is for artisans to do activities such as basket weaving and to demonstrate those skills to future generations. The MAR 5 site contains native plants such as cattails and willow that will flourish and artisans can harvest the materials for their basket weaving. The site will also have educational classes and guided tours.

SDB Contracting Services: ASU – PTS Vehicle Charging Stations

This project consisted of installation of more than 22 Chargepoint Level II Dual-Port charging stations at parking structures throughout the ASU parking facilities at Tempe, Polytechnic, West and Downtown campuses. The addition of transformers and electrical panels were necessary to allow for more energy efficient and reliable charging options for a wider range of electric vehicles and allow for future stations to be added without significant cost. Now that this initial investment has been made, the minimization of the carbon footprint related to use of electric vehicles and independence from fossil fuels helps move the community toward more sustainable options for transit and enable a wide range of people to access the campus in electric vehicles.

Stacy and Witbeck / Sundt, A Joint Venture: Gilbert Road Light Rail Extension

The 1.9-mile Gilbert Road Light Rail project in Mesa, Arizona, consists of two stations, a park-and-ride and the nation’s first four-way roundabout across light rail tracks. The $184 million project will provide the ability to draw more light-rail passengers from the East Valley and bring greater development opportunities to central Mesa. This project reached for sustainable goals through decreasing air quality due to the installation of the light rail, using an aggregate supplier that was within five miles of the construction zone, implementing a thorough recycling program, and creating a highly effective storm water pollution prevention plan (SWPPP).

Valley Metro: 50th Street/Washington Station

Valley Metro’s 50th Street/Washington Station is a new addition to the light rail that will serve Ability360 and the surrounding community. This is the first light rail station to be added to the existing light rail line (rather than added as a line extension) and also the first light rail project funded entirely by the City of Phoenix Transportation 2050 funds. This new station serves people by considering the disability community that will be utilizing the station, benefits the economy by providing increased access to 55 businesses in the nearby industrial park, benefits the environment by mitigating heat and benefits regional air quality.