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Posted 11/29/2012

Release no. PA-2012-68


KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Kansas City Mayor Sly James and Col. Anthony J. Hofmann, commander of the Kansas City District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, were presented with the Alphonse J. Dell’Isola Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in Construction by Strategic Value Solutions, Inc. during a presentation at the Richard Bolling Federal Building Nov. 28.

The award was presented on behalf of SAVE International and recognizes the Blue River Channel Modification Project.

The Blue River watershed is 289 square miles in size and is located in metropolitan Kansas City. The downstream portion of the river flows through some of the most industrialized sections of the city. Over the years, the Blue River has been subject to frequent flooding. The most severe flood occurred in 1961 and cost two lives, forced the evacuation of hundreds of people from their homes, forced the closing of numerous factories, and severely disrupted transportation on streets, highways and railroad lines in the lower reaches of the river.

“The Blue River Project has certainly been getting some attention, and we’re delighted to be a part of this,” said John L. Robinson, principal and owner of SVS, Inc., a Kansas City area firm that conducts value engineering studies worldwide.

The value engineering study, which was conducted by SVS, Inc., resulted in approximately $35 million of savings for taxpayers. The original design of the project had an estimated construction cost of $40,270,000, but the awarded amount for the redesigned grade controls was $5,528,550—a savings of 86 percent. This was due to the recommendations of the value engineering study. Additionally, the rock grade controls improved river recreation, improved ecology, enhanced the historic battlefield site and lowered risk and maintenance for the City of Kansas City, Mo., by eliminating concrete walls more than 50 feet high.

“The Kansas City District is proud of this project and of our partnership with the City of Kansas City, Mo., and we are proud to accept this award alongside the city,” said Hofmann. “In essence—we find out how well we can work together—federal, state and local level—in order to complete a civil works project that ultimately benefits the public we all serve. Often, this can be a long dance that takes decades. Such has been the case with this project.”

The project was authorized in the 1970 Flood Control Act and began construction in 1983. As of today, it is nearing completion more than 40 years after its authorization.

“Why is value engineering so important to this project? As we neared the upper end of this project, the Corps was challenged by the sponsor to come up with a better solution to a critical feature known as the grade control structure. We could have taken the easy way and not challenged the original design basis, but we knew the sponsor and stakeholders would not be happy with this approach. We accepted the challenge and made the decision to value engineer the project,” said Hofmann.

He went on to recognize the determination of Kansas City staff Lynda Hoffman, Karin Jacoby and Terry Winbush, key players allowing the Corps to understand and meet the stakeholders’ diverse needs using a collaborative approach.

James also made remarks and thanked the Corps for listening to city staff and allowing for a redesign of the project to meet the needs of the public. 

The presentation concluded with James offering Hofmann, Robinson and John D. Holm, project manager, with coins as his token of appreciation.

For questions, please contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Public Affairs Office at (816) 389-3485.

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award blue river hofmann holm mayor james