The APWA Public Works Project of the Year Award for agencies from cities or counties with a population of 50,000 or less is established to promote excellence in demonstrating creativity, ingenuity, and efficiency in the delivery of public works projects that have a profound impact on the community.

The award is given for positive impact in the community as compared to dollar amount. Project categories are:

  • Structures—to include new public structures or the preservation/or rehabilitation of existing public structures including, municipal buildings and parks. Other structures as defined in the Historic Restoration/Preservation and Transportation categories shall not be considered in the structures category
  • Transportation—to include roads, bridges, mass transit that serve any or all modes of travel including bicycles and foot traffic. Other transportation projects as defined in the Historical Restoration/Preservation and Structures categories shall not be considered in the Transportation category
  • Environment—to include treatment and recycling facilities, landfill reclamation projects, and sewer projects.
  • Historical Restoration/Preservation—to include historical restoration, preservation, and adaptive reuse of existing buildings, structures, and facilities that are 75 years or older to qualify as historical
  • Disaster or Emergency Construction Repair—to include the techniques and timing for safety, community relations, environmental protection, adverse conditions, and additional considerations.


Public works projects must be developed, owned, and maintained by public agencies. To be eligible for nomination, a project must have been “substantially completed” and available for public and/or agency use within two calendar years prior to nomination. If a project has multiple phases or segments, then “substantially completed” will be construed as that point when the final phase or segment is 90 percent completed and available for public and/or agency use.

A project may only be nominated once for recognition as “Project of the Year” under any category.


The Project of the Year Committee reviews the nominations and selects the award winners.


Criteria to be used in the selection process include:

  1. Development of the project to meet a perceived need of the community
  2. Use of alternative materials, practices, or funding that demonstrates a commitment to sustainability and/or use of sustainable infrastructure rating system or the equivalent
  3. Unique or unusual accomplishments under adverse conditions that dictated the defined action
  4. Economic challenges that the community faced and the rationale of the option chosen
  5. Creative use of municipal resources, equipment, labor, or funds that produced measurable benefits to the community
  6. Construction processes that minimize the impact to the community and its residents during construction
  7. Demonstrate awareness of opportunities for environmental preservation during the project and how they were incorporated in the project design and construction
  8. Additional conditions deemed of importance to the public works agency, such as exceptional efforts to maintain quality control and, if value engineering is used, construction innovations as evidenced by time and/or money‐saving techniques developed and/or successfully utilized.

Nomination Process

Nominations of projects can be made by the managing public agency or APWA chapters. Submissions are limited to 20 pages. Please address each of the following areas in your nomination, adhering to the sequence above. No letters of recommendation please. Simultaneous nomination of the same project in both Public Works Project of the year and SC/RC Project of the Year or in two categories is not permitted.

Nominations not chosen in a specific year for the Public Works Project of the Year, or the Small Cities/Rural Communities Award cannot be resubmitted in a subsequent year.
Projects that involve or reside within two or more chapters location can be co-nominated. Each chapter will receive credit to submit a PACE nomination. All Chapters must be identified on the nomination form and before the nominations are judged.


March 4, 2024, 11:59 p.m. Eastern time; electronic submittals only. 


A designated representative of the public agency, contractor, and consultant are presented a plaque at the Awards Recognition Ceremony during PWX, and winners are featured in APWA publications.