MILWAUKEE, WI - The Missouri Department of Transportation has won top honors in the Mid America Regional "America's Transportation Awards" competition for a project that was completed ahead of schedule and one that demonstrated the best use of innovation.The awards were presented today at the annual meeting of the Mid America Association of State Transportation Officials. MoDOT's winning entries were the statewide Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Project and the Route 5 Shared Four-Lane Project in Camden and Laclede counties. Safe & Sound Project Director Ken Warbritton and Central District Design Engineer Nicole Hood accepted the awards.Now in its sixth year, the America's Transportation Awards competition - sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce - recognizes the very best of America's transportation projects in three main categories: Ahead of Schedule, Under Budget and Best Use of Innovation. The categories are then split up by size: small (less than $25 million), medium (between $25 million and $199 million) and large ($200 million and more).Safe & Sound won as the large project in the "Ahead of Schedule" category. The $685 million project replaced or rehabilitated 802 of Missouri's poorest bridges in three-and-a-half years - two years ahead of schedule. Some 554 of those structures were bridge replacements completed under a single design-build contract with KTU Constructors.The "shared four-lane" highway on Route 5 was constructed to improve safety and traffic flow. The innovative highway design provides 18 miles of continuous, alternating passing lanes between Camdenton and Lebanon, allowing motorists to pass other vehicles without driving in opposing traffic lanes. The northern part of the project was built on new alignment while the southern portion retrofitted the existing highway. The $34 million project was completed during the summer of 2011."Our entries this year encompass the broad scope of transportation projects completed every day by state transportation departments," said Mike Lewis, AASHTO president and director of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation. "The America's Transportation Awards competition showcases how state DOTs are delivering quality projects with limited transportation dollars. Through this competition, we honor these projects for excellent stewardship of our tax dollars and the incredible innovations they display."The 10 projects with the highest overall scores from all four AASHTO regions will compete for the Grand Prize and People's Choice Award. The Grand Prize winner is determined by a panel of transportation experts. The People's Choice Award goes to the transportation project that receives the most online votes from the public. Online voting begins September 4. The winners of both awards will be announced at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in Denver in October.More information about these projects and the competition can be found at www.AmericasTransportationAwards.org.