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Amazing Photos of Faces and Places of Transportation Awarded Top Prizes in AASHTO Photography Contest 

MTC Photographer Karl Nielsen Wins Grand Prize

Karl Nielsen's award-winning photos
© 2012 Karl Nielsen

November 2, 2012
WASHINGTON, DC – An outstanding photograph of a tunnel breakthrough in the cavernous 3,300-foot-long Caldecott Fourth Bore Tunnel Project in Northern California was awarded the Grand Prize in the Faces of Transportation competition, sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation officials (AASHTO).

The photo was taken by Berkeley photographer Karl Nielsen, and was commissioned by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), which is one of the agencies funding the Caldecott Fourth Bore Project and has been documenting the construction progress. A second Nielsen photo from the Caldecott series was honored with the top prize in the "Building the Future" category.

Six other impressive photographs capturing highway construction workers and citizens using transportation facilities in their communities also received awards.

A judge selected the winning photographs from a pool of 126 entries in three categories: Building the Future, Taking a Ride, and On the Road.

AASHTO this year opened the competition to the general public for the first time, and 16 private citizens joined employees from 18 State Departments of Transportation and affiliates in submitting photographs.

Approximately 6,500 online votes were cast in the People's Choice segment of the competition, which is new this year.

Grand Prize Winner: Caldecott Fourth Bore Tunnel Breakthrough

Metropolitan Transportation Commission Photographer Karl Nielsen's photograph captures the breakthrough on the Caldecott Fourth Bore Tunnel Project in Northern California, which occurred in late November 2011 when the top portion of the west and east sides of the tunnel met.

Building the Future Category – Individual Winner: Caldecott Fourth Bore Tunnel Worker

Metropolitan Transportation Commission Photographer Karl Nielsen. In this photo Nielsen captures a shotcrete nozzleman working on the construction of a fourth bore for the Caldecott Tunnel on State Route 24 in the San Francisco Bay Area. The machine he is holding sprays reinforced concrete on newly excavated rock, forming the tunnel's initial lining.

The photographs were judged by Lindsay Brown of AASHTO's Engineering and Technical Services Division. Brown has a bachelor of fine arts degree in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

To view all of the entries in this year's competition, visit the Faces of Transportation blog at