UCA Award Winners Announced at NAT 2022

The Underground Construction Association of SME announced its 2022 award winners on Monday, June 20, at the opening session of the North American Tunneling Conference in Philadelphia.

Lifetime Achievement Award – William “Bill” Edgerton


William W. “Bill” Edgerton, P.E. is a Principal with the firm of McMillen Jacobs Associates, headquartered in San Francisco. From 1999 through 2011 he served as President, directing strategic planning, business development and administration, while acting as the Principal-in-Charge and working in a technical capacity on underground projects. Over the last 12 years he has served as the Manager of Tunneling for DC Water’s $2.6 billion Clean Rivers Project in Washington, DC, and as the Construction Manager for LA Metro’s $1.4 billion Purple Line Extension, Segment 2.

In addition to service as the UCA’s Chair, he has served on the SME Board and was the 2021 SME President. Since 2002 he has served as an ASCE program evaluator for civil and construction engineering programs for ABET.

In 2008, he edited Recommended Contract practices for Underground Construction, and has authored numerous technical articles on procurement practices. In 2012 received the Golden Beaver Award for Engineering, and was inducted into the National Academy of Construction in 2015. A member of the Moles, he holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Tufts University, an MBA in Procurement and Contracting from George Washington University, and holds PE licenses in seven states.

Muddy Boots Award – Christophe Bragard


Christophe Bragard is a Tunnel Manager for Traylor Brothers. Over 25 years, he has gained international experience on major tunnel construction jobs on four continents on very diverse projects: TBM and mined tunnels, soft ground to hard rock, slurry or EPB, remote and urban settings; design-bid-build, design build and PPP projects from $100 million to $4.5 billion. He worked for the contractor on the field, for its technical department as well as for the designer.

Bragard and his team recently completed the Regional Connector TBM drives, cross passages and a large underground cavern in soft rock in Los Angeles. The hard and challenging work of the team in this urban setting, an exceptional safety record and the strong cooperation with the owner resulted in several project awards (ITA 2019, UCA 2020).

In his spare time, Bragard enjoys time with his family, scouting, the outdoors and embarking on mountain treks with colleagues.

Outstanding Educator – Jamal Rostami


Dr. Rostami is a professor at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) and the Hadden/Alacer Gold Endowed Chair and Director of the Excavation Engineering and Earth Mechanics Institute (EMI). He has a BSc in mining engineering from the University of Tehran, Iran, and his MSc and PhD in mining engineering in 1992 and 1997 from CSM, respectively. He has been a faculty at the University of Tehran from 1988 through 2002, a full-time consultant with major A&E companies from 2002 till 2007 when he joined the Pennsylvania State University (PSU), as Centennial Chair of Carrier Development in Mining.

He has over 30 years of experience in design, management, research, and teaching in the field of mining, tunneling, and underground construction. Dr. Rostami is a registered Professional Engineering (PE) in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal publication and 160 conference papers and many technical reports. He is a member of SME, ASCE, ARMA, ISEE, and TRB tunneling committee. He is the editor in chief of the “Tunneling and Underground Space Technology”, member of editorial board of several rock mechanics and mining journals. He is also a member of the executive committee of the International Tunneling Association (ITA). Dr. Rostami was named the recipient 2014 of the Pittsburgh Coal Mining Institute of America (PCMIA) 2014 Stephen McCann Memorial Educational Excellence Award. He has chaired and coordinated the UCA of SME sessions at SME annual meetings since 2015.

Person of the Year – Leonard A. Worden


Leonard A. “Len” Worden is the CEO/Principal of the CSI Group of Companies, headquartered in Hudson, NH. For the past 30 years he has been leading CSI Tunnel Systems, a specialist in the manufacture of Precision Precast Concrete Tunnel Liners (PCTL). Worden is a self-taught professional in all phases of business and plant and equipment design, with keen mechanical skills. During his tenure in the Precast Concrete Industry, he has contributed his expertise in various leadership positions with the National Precast Concrete Association, American Concrete Pipe Association, ASTM C-13 Committee, and the Underground Construction Association.

With a committed CSI staff of professionals, Worden oversees his vertically integrated companies’ activities from engineering to mobilizing dedicated segment factories, utilizing state-of-the-arts deployable carousel and material handling systems technology, CLECO molds, and concrete batch/mix plants for precise control of high-performance concrete within North America. CSI tunnel Systems has undertaken 39 projects to date; 22 of those projects were within the last decade. Worden’s most treasured honor thus far is the special and lasting relationships forged over the years with tunnel client professionals, engineers, vendors, and owner representatives.

As he states, “The honor of receiving this award is over the top, completely unexpected, and very humbly appreciated.”

Young Member – Aswathy Sivaram


Aswathy (Ash) Sivaram joined Black & Veatch after receiving her MS degree in Geotechnical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. Prior to starting her career in the consulting industry, she spent time in academia in various research-oriented roles. Her total experience is just over 12 years. Her expertise lies in engineering design and construction management, proposal development, preparation of contract documents, and conformance reviews of heavy civil infrastructure projects.

Her experience is as broad as it comes – she has worked on all aspects of tunnel projects including pre-positioning with clients, chasing pursuits, technical innovation and value add, and project execution including planning, preliminary and detailed design, and construction contract administration and inspection services. She has successfully delivered dozens of projects adding up to construction contract values of over $1 billion USD.

Her responsibilities outside of the technical realm include building resilient teams, strategizing for the growth of the heavy civil business, understanding the trends of the industry and positioning for success.
Sivaram has authored various technical papers and presented in premier industry conferences to a wide variety of audience (North American Tunneling conference, Rapid Excavation and Tunneling Conference, and NASTT No-Dig Show). She is a program committee member and session chair for the 2021 NASTT No-Dig Show as well as the North American Tunneling Conference in 2022.

Since 2018, Sivaram has served on the board of the UCA Young Member Executive Committee. Under her leadership, a forum called “Tunnel Vision” series was initiated to provide a space for tunnelers to get together and discuss projects, challenges and successes in a safe and informal environment. This has been continuing for the past year with tremendous success.

Sivaram is licensed as a professional engineer in several states in the US as well as in multiple provinces in Canada. She served as a member of the Board of Directors of The daVinci Pursuit, a non-profit organization in Indianapolis, IN, where her love for all things art and science came to fruition. She has also served as President of ASCE, Northeast Indiana Branch.

Project of the Year – $50M-$500M (tie) – Atlanta Raw Water Supply Program

Atlanta Raw Water Supply Program.

The $321 million construction management-at-risk project – which is the largest water supply project the State of Georgia has ever undertaken – will provide the City with a reliable supply of drinking water for the next 100 years, increasing the emergency raw water reserve from three days to more than 30 days.

According to representatives from the City of Atlanta, the five-year project is the most logistically challenging project executed by the City’s Department of Watershed Management. The results put the city in a position of strength and allow for a significant expansion of its water reserve.

The project, which first broke ground in August 2015, began with the conversion of an existing 400-ft deep rock quarry to a 2.4-billion-gallon raw water storage system. From there, the team used a Robbins tunnel boring machine, nicknamed “Driller Mike,” to dig, bore and install a 5-mile, 10-ft diameter tunnel. That tunnel connected the quarry to two new pumping stations and 11 deep shafts, all which will work together to ensure residents and businesses have access to clean, safe drinking water especially during drought conditions and emergencies.

Project of the Year – $50M-$500M (tie) – Bergen Point Outfall Replacement Project

Suffolk County Outfall Replacement Tunnel Project.

OHL USA Inc./Posillico Civil Inc./ SELI Overseas USA Inc. JV was awarded the $187 million contract by Suffolk County (NY) Department of Public Works to replace existing outfall pipe at the Bergen Point Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) in Babylon, New York. This is the largest construction project in Suffolk County in several decades. Construction started on Feb. 8, 2018.

The project includes the construction of a 14,200-ft, 120-in. ID tunnel through a mixture of soft soil materials under the Great South Bay with the use of a tunnel boring machine (TBM). The tunnel replaces the existing prestressed concrete cylinder pipe (PCCP) outfall, which carries millions of gallons of treated wastewater, connecting the Bergen Point Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) to the Barrier Island under the Great South Bay. The new tunnel will address the concerns of potential failure of the current pipe and has a longer lifespan.

The tunnel was excavated and concurrently lined using precast concrete segment rings. The JV selected a slurry TBM as the most effective and efficient means of tunnel excavation and elected to use 48-in. wide precast segment liners. The shaft construction was divided into major work phases including site preparation, excavation of the launch shaft and installation of the slurry TBM. Once the TBM was installed, tunnel excavation proceeded in 4-ft pushes, followed by the installation of the permanent tunnel lining. Additionally, the team was to complete ancillary work within the tunnel including the installation of new piping and valving, associated plumbing, HVAC and electrical work.

Project of the Year – Less than $50M – Greenville (SC) Reedy River Basin Sewer Tunnel Project

Reedy River Basin Sewer Tunnel Project.

The Reedy River Sewer Basin Tunnel for Renewable Water Resources ReWA) in Greenville, South Carolina, included construction of 6,000 LF of 130-in. ID rock tunnel with 84-in. carrier pipe (Hobas CCFRPM Pipe) grouted in place. Tunnel depth ranges from 40 to 130 feet below ground surface, and was mined in intact Gneiss bedrock using a double shielded rock gripper TBM manufactured by Lovsuns Canada. Tunneling required construction of a 40-ft ID by 40-ft deep launch shaft and 30-ft ID by 130-ft deep receiving shaft. Shaft construction to consist of liner plate and rock dowels with wire mesh. The contractor was Super Excavators Inc./CMCRA JV. Black & Veatch was the engineer. Tunneling was completed between March 2018 and September 2020.

Technical Innovation of the Year – Mill Creek Tunnel TBM Conversion

Mill Creek Drainage Relief Tunnel

Mill Creek Tunnel.

The first successful conversion of 37-ft, 7-in. TBM to a 32-ft, 6-in. TBM from completely within the confines of the tunnel bore by Southland Mole JV in conjunction with Aldea Services and The Robbins Company.

The City of Dallas (Project Owner) originally designed 10,000 lf of the downstream end of the Mill Creek Tunnel (27,000 lf total tunnel length) to be a horseshoe shape (38-ft, 3-in. x 32-ft, 6-in. excavation), for the purpose of providing a larger capacity in this stretch, and to utilize only one size TBM for the entire tunnel excavation. The design called for a 32-ft, 6-in. circular cross-section excavation, then utilizing conventional heavy civil equipment to bench the 10,000 lf reach. In partnering with The Robbins Company and Aldea Services, Southland Mole JV was able to work with the City of Dallas and their consultants to use a TBM that could excavate a larger diameter for the downstream end and be converted to the original 32-ft, 6-in. diameter for the remaining 17,000 lf. Each entity played a key role in the successful completion of this TBM conversion.


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