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Transportation Design & Construction Firms Honored for Community Programs

Mon June 18, 2012 - National Edition
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Transportation design and construction firms and public agencies from across the country were recognized for “excellence in community relations and public education” during the American Road & Transportation Builders Association Transportation Development Foundation (ARTBA-TDF) 2012 PRIDE Awards lunch, held May 30 in the Nation’s Capitol during the association’s Federal Issues Program.

Established in 1999, the PRIDE Awards honor outstanding programs that enhance the image of the transportation design and construction industry. An independent panel of public relations professionals and journalists reviewed nominations and selected the winners in these categories:

• Community Relations: Honors programs which demonstrate positive involvement with the community in which a public agency, firm or association is located.

• Public-Media Relations/Education: Recognizes activities that educate the public and opinion leaders about the significant contributions the industry makes to the economy and/or quality of life.

Community Relations: Private Sector

First Place: APAC-Missouri Inc., an Oldcastle Materials Company “Quarry Days Celebration”

Through its annual “Quarry Days Celebration,” APAC-Missouri for the last 11 years has helped educate elementary school students, teachers and parents in Columbia about the importance of aggregates to society and dispel myths about the impact of quarries on the environment. The two-day learning event, which was created by the firm’s Gary Wood, starts with a classroom presentation called “How a Hill Becomes a Road” and explains the limestone mining process, environmental protection procedures, and safety measures. On the second day, students take a bus tour of the Linn Creek Quarry, where they get a first-hand look at how aggregate materials are mined and processed, and get to search for fossils and crystals. In total, the program has reached more than 4,000 students.

Second Place (tie): Stacy and Witbeck Inc. and Kiewit Western Company (SWK)

“UTA Airport TRAX Light Rail Project”

Stacy and Witbeck Inc. and Kiewit Western Company (SWK) are partners in building the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) Airport TRAX Line, a 6-mi. light rail project through neighborhoods and business districts that will connect downtown Salt Lake City with its international airport. The team developed and executed a comprehensive initiative to keep the community informed on the project’s progress. It included: conducting more than 1,500 meetings with businesses and residents, delivering nearly 175 advanced construction notices to more than 10,500 contacts, and providing 5,000+ full-color flyers instructing commuters on how to navigate construction zones. A 24-hour hotline to address questions and concerns, and 15 grassroots events at venues such as the Utah State Fair and local high schools also were key parts of the program.

Second Place (tie): Flatiron Construction Corp.

“SR92deals.com Coupon Campaign”

Flatiron employed an innovative goodwill vehicle during the construction of State Route 92 from Lehi to Highland, Utah — a Flatiron-Harper joint venture for the Utah Department of Transportation. To help mitigate the impacts of construction on the community, Flatiron launched the “SR92deals.com Coupon Campaign,” creating a user-friendly Web site, Twitter account and “mobile app” to provide residents with information about and coupons for local businesses. Nearly 70 percent of business owners contacted participated in the coupon campaign, which was designed to promote their products and services through a specially-designed Web site created by Flatiron. Overall, the campaign reached more than 18,500 residents and commuters through mailings and hand-delivered post cards. As one measure of success, according to Google Analytics, Flatiron’s original Web site traffic goals were exceeded by 150 percent.

Community Relations: Public Sector

First Place: Idaho Transportation Department (IDT) and URS Energy & Construction

“U.S. 95 Sand Creek Byway”

For more than 50 years, building an alternate route for U.S. 95 around Sandpoint to improve traffic flow and safety has been a major topic of discussion. To obtain broad-based public support for construction of the Sand Creek Byway, the IDT, in partnership with URS Energy & Construction, engaged local residents from the project’s beginning, with the idea that the new bypass should “fit into the community,” not the “community into the project.” The group created a public information office and interviewed more than 120 stakeholders, which led to the creation of a citizen-led Design Advisory Committee. The outreach also included public hearings for 250 participants and a booth at the county fair visited by more than 3,000 people. Newsletters and post cards were distributed to more than 11,000 people. Public participation proved an invaluable part of the design, environmental and construction processes and led to several context sensitive design solutions and enhancements.

Public-Media Relations/Education: Private Sector

First Place: APAC-Missouri Inc., an Oldcastle Materials Company

“Build-up Columbia”

The “Build-Up Columbia Program” led by APAC-Missouri was a model partnership with the Fairview Elementary School. It offered fifth graders information about construction projects and incorporated teamwork and engineering principles that correspond to existing curriculum in the studies of science, math and language arts. Students explored handling an environmental spill, building modal bridges, examining water flow processes and sky scraper construction. Field trips to the company’s main office, construction sites and the Rocky Fork Quarry helped make students aware of jobs they might not have known existed. It also involved a final classroom project where students formed their own construction companies by agreeing on a name and making a poster to capture the principles and vision of their firm.

Public-Media Relations/Education: Public Sector

First Place: Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), Copper Hills Constructors, HDR Inc., Parsons Brinckerhoff

“Mountain View Corridor”

To address current traffic demands and massive projected population increases over the next 20 years, UDOT, along with its partners Copper Hills Construction, HDR Inc., and Parsons Brinckerhoff, are building the Mountain View Corridor (MVC), a freeway system servicing 13 municipalities in western Salt Lake and Utah Counties. The group created a public involvement (PI) team to foster greater public awareness of the project’s benefits to the community and to inform commuters about construction schedules and alternate routes. The result: scores of print, online and TV news stories. The PI team delivered more than 1,000 fliers, mailed 8,500 postcards, e-mailed 150 businesses and held a public meeting to explain traffic realignment. They also created a navigation video which was viewed nearly 2,000 times and an interactive map displaying current and future construction. Because of MVC’s proximity to several schools, the team launched the “Think Safety” campaign to inform parents and children about the dangers of playing near construction zones, visited 15 schools, spoke to 18,000 students and distributed more than 12,000 informational materials.

Second Place: Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT); J.F. White Contracting Company, Kiewit, Joint Venture

“I-93 Fast 14 Rapid Bridge Replacement Project”

MassDOT, along with the joint venture team of J.F. White Contracting Company and Kiewit, headed a $91 million accelerated bridge project, which replaced 14 bridges on Interstate 93 in Medford in just 10 weekends between June and August 2011. The team planned and executed a traffic management and communications plan to minimize construction-related congestion and impacts on the community. Public meetings, an interactive Web site and social media were used to create awareness about construction zones and to post detour routes, which minimized gridlock and allowed the work to be completed on time. The “I-93 Fast 14 Rapid Bridge Replacement Project,” according to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, “demonstrated perfectly the ability of American innovation to respond to transportation challenges.”

For more information, visit www.artbatdf.org.