Sundt’s design-build team on the Skyline Drive Widening project in Tucson, Arizona, took a proactive approach to public and community relations that turned what could have been an unpleasant and disruptive construction experience for neighbors, businesses and the traveling public into a positive experience where everyone’s needs, wants and concerns were addressed. The approach was so successful the project was completed more than eight months early and won the Marvin M. Black Award for Partnering – a prestigious, national honor – as well as multiple other awards.
A number of the techniques paved the way for contractor-led public involvement. During the highly contested right-of-way acquisition, the team launched a website to keep the community aware of the schedule and implemented an around-the-clock telephone hotline. They also went door-to-door to each resident to establish relationships with them and make them comfortable to engage with the process. The construction trailer became a place residents could come and ask any questions they had. As the project progressed, the team held open houses for the community, implemented a native plant preservation plan to protect the neighborhood’s treasured saguaro cacti, established traveler information stations to assist motorists encountering delays, and conducted a major information campaign to notify the community about road closures. The extensive public involvement process allowed residents to influence the project to reflect their priorities.
The success left a lasting impression on Pima County officials, who changed the county’s policy on future projects to include aspects of teaming and public outreach efforts based on what they learned from the Skyline team.
Skyline Drive Widening