ASCE Unveils New Infrastructure Gamechangers

July 13, 2020
American Society Of Civil Engineers Logo 2009 Present 5f0ca4b03ec43

RESTON, Va. – Today the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) designated 12 new Infrastructure Gamechangers—groundbreaking infrastructure projects and programs that represent the latest innovations in transportation, water, and energy infrastructure that are transforming the way engineers plan, build and adapt to the nation’s infrastructure needs. Following these new additions, 41 states are now represented by a Gamechanger that meets these criteria: innovative technologies, creative funding mechanisms, and unique collaborations between agencies or private firms.

“Our country has a 10-year, $2 trillion infrastructure investment gap,” said ASCE President K.N. Gunalan “Guna,” Ph.D., P.E. “The engineering community is helping to close that gap. These latest Infrastructure Gamechangers showcase innovative solutions to complex problems and demonstrate some of the ways civil engineers are thinking creatively to modernize our nation’s infrastructure."

The latest additions to ASCE’s Infrastructure Gamechangers are:

  • Branson, Colorado water filtration unit incorporates both wind and solar power to run its purification station, which also means the project doubles down on Colorado Governor Polis’ goals of the state reaching 100% renewable energy by 2040. As a small town with only 55 residents, Branson used various crowdsourcing efforts to fund the locally made filtration unit to bring its water quality up to Colorado’s regulations. 
  • Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Heat-Resistant Panels were installed in May 2018 after Kilauea Volcano erupted, sending lava flowing toward Highway 130. The heat-resistant Calcium Aluminate Cement roadway panels, costing $1 million, managed to keep road temperatures around 130 degrees, down from 175 to 275 degrees without the panels.   
  • Illinois Fiber Connect Project, by EJ Water Cooperative, is a first-of-its-kind initiative that runs fiber alongside water pipelines in the same trench. The project, meant to benefit rural communities, reduces costs for telecommunication installation by two-thirds and the syncing of these utilities allows for smart meters to provide live data.
  • Mississippi State University Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR), an instrument created by NASA, was used to detect variation in the soil properties along the Mississippi River. This technology was able to penetrate layers of soil to analyze areas that will suffer from a slump slide, which is indicative of future levee failure in a high-water event.
  • Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) Demand-Response Transit brought together demand-response providers and consultants in a statewide effort to make the most efficient system possible. A $24 million investment by PennDOT has saved the city $600,000 in maintenance costs in the first year alone.
  • Portland, Oregon Scooter Tax pilot recognized the role scooters can play in the transit ecosystem and began regulating this new form of transportation by capping the number of scooters allowed and adding a 25-cent tax per ride. The revenue from this tax will go to the local transit authority to improve rider safety and better ensure the general viability of these scooters into the future.
  • Southwestern Parkway Combined Sewer Overflow Basin project in Louisville, Kentucky, was constructed to fix the city’s combined sewer overflow (CSO) problem, which led to sewage discharging in local waterways. The project uses “capture and release” technology to store CSOs during storms before gradually releasing them into treatment facilities as capacity became available. Given its location at Louisville’s Olmsted Park System, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the design team constructed the project underground to preserve the park for the community. 
  • The STAR School, in Flagstaff, Arizona, is the first public elementary school in America to be completely dependent on solar power. In addition to solar panels, STAR School also has wind generators and a small propane tank on standby for consecutive cloudy days.
  • The Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow (SWIFT) in Eastern Virginia is an innovative water treatment project changing the way water is recycled. The aim of this initiative is to take highly treated wastewater destined for the Elizabeth, James, or York rivers and further treat this water to meet minimum drinking water standards.
  • Tilikum Crossing in Portland, Oregon, is the longest car-free bridge in the nation, spanning 1,700 feet. The structure sets a national standard for multi-model infrastructure. Bridge architects and city officials chose project materials that would minimize pollution and created a diverse team of experts in urban planning to ensure the long-term sustainability of the bridge.
  • Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) Connected Vehicle Pilot Program, funded by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), installs connected vehicle technology into semi-trailers to communicate dangerous road conditions such as lane closures, adverse weather conditions, and crashes ahead. Wyoming connected semi-trailers will alert other truck drivers to these potential dangers, with the goal of reducing crashes and making I-80 safer for all drivers.
  • Yahara Watershed Improvement Network (Yahara WINS) is a groundbreaking initiative to clean up phosphorous pollution in the local watershed in Madison, Wisconsin. Yahara WINS has been able to control phosphorus runoff as well as directly remove sediment with high phosphorus levels.

For more information on ASCE’s Infrastructure Gamechangers, go to

The 2021 Report card for America’s Infrastructure will be released in February 2021.