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 the result.