RALEIGH – The Business 40 Improvement Project in downtown Winston-Salem is one of 10 projects across the country selected by the Federal Highway Administration as national models for successful public involvement. FHWA has posted case studies of each project on its website, highlighting the innovative and effective methods used to engage all citizens in the project planning process.
“I applaud our NCDOT staff in Winston-Salem and Raleigh for working hard to develop and implement this significant level of public outreach,” said N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Tony Tata. “One of Gov. McCrory’s priorities for the department is to be more customer-focused, and this is a great example of how we should be interacting with our customers, who will use and benefit from our projects.”
The Business 40 Improvement Project will completely upgrade 1.1 miles of the roadway from west of Fourth Street to east of Church Street in downtown Winston-Salem. The work includes removing and replacing the pavement, replacing 10 bridges and improving ramps. The project will create a safer, longer lasting road that helps drivers get where they need to go more efficiently.
In its case study of the Business 40 Improvement Project, FHWA touted a number of ways that NCDOT has exceeded typical public involvement efforts since 2007. They include:
Using well-trained staff to conduct door-to-door surveys to find out if citizens preferred that U.S. 421/Business 40 close completely for construction for two years or partially for six years. The workers wore matching orange shirts and handed out orange pamphlets and flyers to help the public associate the color with the project. They connected with 30,000 households in the core neighborhoods surrounding the project area, resulting in a survey response rate of 42 percent;
Handing out construction closure surveys on the ramps at each of the six interchanges with U.S. 421/Business 40 within the project limits. This effort allowed NCDOT to reach motorists who used the highway, but did not live in a neighborhood in the project area. Trained staff provided the surveys to drivers during both the morning and evening rush hours to complete and return by mail. Nearly 3,000 surveys were distributed, with more than 25 percent returned; and
Holding corridor-wide meetings at key milestones throughout the life of the project. NCDOT has held two sets of corridor-wide meetings within the project area to explain to citizens how the project is progressing, answer any questions and accept feedback. Total attendance numbered 1,025 people.
FHWA will share the case studies it has compiled with all state DOTs to encourage them to try similar practices within their own projects. To view the case studies, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/environmental_justice/ej_and_nepa/case_studies/case00.cfm.
Construction on the Business 40 Improvement Project is currently scheduled to begin in 2018. For more information, visit www.business40nc.com/.
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