GRAND RAPIDS – The Plainfield Avenue reconstruction project in Grand Rapids has been named a regional winner in the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) 2014 America’s Transportation Awards competition. State Rep. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) said the award highlights the quality road construction that can be done in Michigan, and the need to find a comprehensive road funding plan.

“It’s good news for Grand Rapids that the Plainfield Avenue project has received recognition from a national group,” Brinks said. “The award shows that Michigan’s civil engineers can find innovative and attractive solutions to improve our roads. We need to bring more award-winning road projects to our state, and that will happen when we get serious about finding a real road funding solution.”

The Plainfield Avenue project involves the reconstruction of the avenue along with the creation of seven bio-retention islands from Leonard Street to Ann Street. The islands each have water retention areas, bio-retention plantings and pollution filtration systems. Rain water is captured in these islands, reducing the flow of water into the city’s sewer system. The project received funding from the Michigan Department of Transportation, the city of Grand Rapids and a federal grant, and local businesses and neighborhood organizations worked in partnership with the government agencies. The project will be considered for inclusion in AASHTO’s national Top Ten projects competition.

“I look forward to the Plainfield Avenue project showcasing Grand Rapids and Michigan at the national level, and I hope it wins the grand prize of $10,000 to support a transportation-related project or charitable cause,” Brinks said. “I’m even more hopeful that Michigan’s elected leaders can come together and find a genuine solution to fix Michigan’s roads, so that more communities can enjoy these kinds of award-winning projects.”