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Improving Connectivity: The Custer Interchange Project

Appendix C Public Relations Skill Set

Idea Name Detailed Description Implementation Details (barriers, skills set coordination, etc.)
Market Research
  • Market research and stakeholder identification. See what the public is actually saying they want done.
  • Need to focus on the public's needs.
  • Main issue - close Custer or keep it open during construction.
  • Public communication plan.
Conduct a public survey early.
  • Passive access control will be an issue the public and businesses are going to be interested in.
  • Early property owner research - access issues.
  • Take advantage to what is adjacent to the highway - certain land owners. For example - the IR, have them buy in to the project so they know what is going on, on a day to day basis.
Positive Project Name Have a new "positive" name for the project. The public doesn't look at it negatively now, they just want it built. Other states have used public/media to help name the project.
Selling Points
  • The new interchange will take some traffic volume off of N. Montana and Custer, initially. Use this positive aspect to "sell" the project to the public?
  • Reduce delay.
  • Better facility when project is complete.
Funding Issues
  • Community does not understand that we don't have the necessary funding yet to build in 2011.
  • Campaign to tell public how funding works?
  • Seek alternative funding sources? Cost sharing - city/county?
Internal Information Keep MDT employees informed and positive about the project.
Public Outreach
  • Full time public information/designated spokesman officer for the Custer Interchange? Maybe third party to inform public? Make this part of contract? This has been successful in other states as well as Montana.
  • Use radio to update the public. Also, television - morning and nightly news, traffic updates. MDT has used this before. Also, phone number with up to date info about traffic during construction.
  • Mailing list/Newsletter - "sign up here to receive an email about construction/traffic".
  • Chamber of Commerce has been very involved - they should stay involved in the project.
  • Model traffic congestion, so public can see the traffic in action. On our website?
  • Educate students. Go to schools to educate about new interchange construction. Engineering/construction PR. Need elementary teaching tools for the public to show how highways are built?
  • Accelerated bridge construction has a positive impact on the public.
  • Need to have Public Relation plan.
  • Implement Pre/Post construction surveys?
  • We need a good Custer Interchange website.
  • Questionnaire in newspaper about how public perceives construction/traffic?
Local Employer Communication
  • Biggest business/chamber complaint has been reduced business from area businesses.
  • Determine markets/large businesses that create traffic through the project and keep these key businesses informed throughout the construction of the project.
Negatives vs. Positives Negatives
  • Funding - project delay.
  • Communication to community.
  • Lack of knowledge.
  • 2 years to go on design.
  • 2011 construction date?
  • 2 season construction project.
  • Will public and media like alternative bidding methods?
  • Could be a large national construction firm building the project - We could use alternative bidding process to accelerate construction?
  • By accelerating construction - We can save the public costs.
Emergency Response Emergency Response - need to coordinate with them about the construction project. (May not impact Custer. Emergency services do not use Custer now.)
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Updated: 10/27/2015
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000