IDOT mulls agency options for latest rebuilding project

SPRINGFIELD, IL: The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is reviewing proposals from 13 firms for a major communications program that could mean PR spending of $2.4 million to $4 million over four years.

SPRINGFIELD, IL: The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is reviewing proposals from 13 firms for a major communications program that could mean PR spending of $2.4 million to $4 million over four years.

The department is seeking an agency to handle communications related to its planned rebuilding of two Chicago-area expressways. Communications efforts will involve keeping the public informed on the project, encouraging use of alternate routes and mass transit, and community relations efforts.

Among firms bidding for the work are Edelman, Fleishman-Hillard, Burson-Marsteller, and Chicago-based Dome Communications. A winner will be selected this month.

The department's RFP does not specify spending levels. Spending is negotiated with the winning firm, said Dick Adorjan, IDOT's director of public affairs.

PR people who have bid on the project foresee spending of at least $2.4 million. The contract runs through 2006, with the option of two one-year renewals.

The department is in the midst of a major rebuilding effort for the expressways that pass through Chicago.

This project involves the Dan Ryan Expressway, a major interstate leading South from the city that handles 300,000 vehicles a day. Also being rebuilt is the Kingery Expressway which leads from the city to neighboring Indiana.

Construction costs will be roughly $400 million, making this the second most expensive highway-improvement project the department has ever done.

Advance work begins in 2003, with actual construction starting in 2005 and extending into 2006.

Last year, Hill & Knowlton won a four-year, $2.2 million assignment handling PR for the planned reconstruction of Interstate Highway 74 through downtown Peoria, another IDOT project. That was the largest project the department of transportation had undertaken outside the Chicago area.

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