County engineer wins national award
It was a complex and challenging project taking place under a state government shutdown.
The Forest Lake "Mega Project," a three-year endeavor at the Broadway Avenue corridor, was led by Cory Slagle, a Washington County transportation manager whose work got the attention of the National Association of County Engineers (NACE).
Slagle won the 2012 NACE Project Manager of the Year Award this spring at a conference in Des Moines, Iowa.
"From around the country, we're all proud of Cory's achievement," said Brian Roberts, NACE Executive Director. "The residents might not understand the technical complexity of the project. Its success and timeliness are directly attributed to Cory's expertise in planning, budgeting, and coordinating with local businesses, multiple road authorities, regulatory agencies, and consulting firms. No easy task, I can assure you."
Slagle has been involved in numerous other projects in the county including Woodbury's Radio Drive in 2007, the roundabout at Bailey Road, Valley Creek Road reconstruction last year and Woodbury Drive this year.
Planning and execution of the Interstate 35 overpass, a new interchange at Broadway Avenue, one-mile stretch of roadway and two pedestrian bridges all went on from 2008 through 2011.
Slagle led the efforts that faced state government shutdown challenges in 2011. But construction carried on when he worked with outside consultants and did the manufacturing of materials off site.
Since Broadway Avenue is a business corridor, he said it was crucial to keep traffic open to motorist and pedestrians.
"We had to figure out ways to keep the project moving ahead," he said. "We had to stop some of the work at the freeway, but we were able to keep the manufacturing of the bridge beams moving ahead."
Slagle also faced design issues with the type of soil before construction began.
"We had quite a bit of extra work when were building the bridge foundation," he said.
Although he was named Project Manager of the Year, Slagle is not taking full credit for the project.
"(I am) very proud of our team," he said. "We had a lot of county staff working on this project. It really was a team award."
Washington County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Lisa Weik said she's always bragging about county staff winning awards, especially for engineering, since roads are physical infrastructure seen most by citizens.
District 3 Commissioner Gary Kriesel said the Mega Project is a good example of working partnerships between county and city staff.
"What a template for how to work with the public and city hall," he said. "This award comes as no surprise to me."