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The Mid America Association of Transportation Officials (MAASTO) recognized two states' rail projects as among the best transportation projects in the nation last year, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) announced yesterday.The departments of transportation in Illinois and Ohio received American Transportation Awards at MAASTO's annual conference in Minneapolis this week. The awards are sponsored by AASHTO, the AAA Motor Club and U.S. Chambers of Commerce.In the competition's "Quality of Life/Community Development" category, the Illinois Department of Transportation took top honors in the "medium-sized" project group for the construction of a second bridge above railroad tracks in Galesburg, Ill. The project is designed to increase travel safety and reduce noise.An Ohio Department of Transportation project won in the "small project" group in the same category. That effort connected Cleveland's lower west side communities to West Shoreway and Edgewater Park by constructing a railroad bridge and extending West 73rd Street to add a multimodal path.Transportation projects completed in 2015 were eligible to compete. The nominations are judged by officials representing a cross-section of transportation industries. Nationwide, 40 state departments of transportation (DOTs) participated in this year's competition. For the MAASTO regional competition, eight state DOTs participated.The regional projects receiving the highest overall scores will compete for a national grand prize that will be announced at AASHTO's annual meeting in November.
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