In 2008, construction on the I-10 Improvement Project in the West Valley began. The Arizona Department of Transportation hoped to leverage this much-anticipated widening of I-10 into positive goodwill with local business and commuters, despite the road closures and inconveniences that came with it. This meant delivering timely information and constant contact with its stakeholders.
PDG helped ADOT position itself as an agency willing to take an aggressive public outreach approach to the high-profile project, with the goal of “telling the I-10 story” to commuters and those impacted by the construction. The message targeted outreach to the general public, local elected officials, the business community and the local media.
PDG managed a project web site and sent weekly construction updates to inform those impacted on project information including upcoming closures and restrictions, and progress and timelines for the project. The PDG and ADOT team produced videos, including time-lapse footage of the new median lanes being built, graphics, maps and fliers to help tell the story in an innovative way. The time-lapse video of the I-10 being widened was the first of its kind at ADOT and now is regularly used in its outreach efforts.
PDG encouraged and facilitated strong relationships with local elected officials at the federal, state and local level. The partnerships built between ADOT and the local governments helped keep constituents informed, as well as solve problems quickly and in good faith should they arise.
PDG and ADOT also worked closely with the business community and developed a good working relationship with the Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce to be a resource and to disseminate information to its members. Furthermore, PDG and ADOT staff visited every local business in the project corridor numerous times in person with business information drops, and developed a database of business contacts for use in delivering timely email updates.
Since the start of the project, PDG proactively identified the appropriate media outlets to build relationships with and met on a regular basis with reporters from the Arizona Republic, West Valley View, Buckeye Sun and Buckeye Valley News in order to keep those publications informed.
In August 2008, PDG and ADOT staff led a tour of the construction site that included several elected officials and members of the local media. The tour resulted in positive feedback from decision makers and a view of highway construction inside the median that couldn’t be seen by drivers, offering a unique perspective to members of the tour and ultimately the general public.
Reporters and photographers from local publications, as well as Channel 10 and KFYI, were on hand for the August 2008 I-10 tour, which resulted in very positive media coverage for the project, including a front-page color photo from the tour in the Southwest Valley Republic. Furthermore, TR News, a trade publication located in Washington, D.C. saw the photos from the tour on the I-10 web site and requested more information for a story on proven partnership successes for freeway construction projects.
ADOT’s I-10 Improvement Project construction outreach effort is a clear success in keeping the public at the forefront of a high-profile freeway construction project. The tangible results generated by the PDG and ADOT team have served as a model for other construction projects and public outreach efforts within the agency.