The US 2 project in Ashland County is a great example of
people and businesses working together. The key to this successful
construction project was communication. First, the Ashland Chamber
of Commerce needed to engage businesses because they were most
likely to be affected by the construction. By ensuring that business
people were engaged, businesses and the Chamber were able to discuss
some of the struggles businesses would face. Together, they were
able to work with S.E.H Engineering and WisDOT to make some changes
to the plan to provide easier access to businesses. Businesses were
sent a US 2 weekly update every Thursday.
Customers were made aware of the construction by signs. The
Chamber had a $10,000 signage campaign, employing both large and
small signs. The smaller signs were placed two blocks from downtown
and could be easily seen on the detour route. At entrances to the
detour, signs listed downtown businesses. On some signs humor was
used to capture customers' attention.
The Chamber met with WisDOT every other week and notified
businesses of these meetings. Each week, a quarter of a page was set
aside in the newspaper for information that might need to be
released to the public. Also each week, the local radio station
highlighted a business on the highway and told customers how they
could win prizes. This helped to let customers know that businesses
were still open.
The Chamber had a special event called "Pump You Up."
Two gas stations located right in the construction zone and two
other gas stations on the perimeter gave customers a $10 gas voucher
in exchange for a paid receipt at an Ashland lodging facility. The
Chamber paid $5 and the gas stations paid the other $5. This special
event was promoted through the Chamber Web site, and franchise
hotels used it within their national 800 reservation systems.
In the end, the project was a success businesses were happy with