H&K will educate IL public about I-74 reconstruction

SPRINGFIELD, IL: The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT)

has picked Hill & Knowlton for a four-year, $2.2 million

assignment handling PR for the planned reconstruction of Interstate

Highway 74 through downtown Peoria.



H&K, Golin/Harris, and KemperLesnick Communications were the finalists,

culled from an initial group of 13 firms that answered a late-summer

RFP, said Mike Monseur, deputy director of public affairs for the

IDOT.



The $350 million rebuilding of 11 miles of I-74, scheduled to

start next year and extend through 2005, is the largest highway project

the department has done outside the Chicago area. "This is going to be a

disruption in downtown Peoria. We want to make sure we reach and educate

the public," said Monseur. "We don't want people to be caught

off-guard."



H&K will handle media relations, town hall meetings, brochures, public

hearings, and a special project website, Monseur said.



Four staffers in H&K's Chicago office will work on the project, with one

being assigned to work in Peoria, said Maura Farrell, a managing

director in the Chicago office. H&K sent six people to make its final

presentation to IDOT, bringing along an artist's rendering of a

groundbreaking and reopening of the road, along with life-size replicas

of an IDOT construction mascot.



Monseur said the department's selection committee rated the three

finalists on a point system based on overall presentation, detail of

presentation, creativity, and message points.



Some of the $2.2 million, four-year budget will be used for

advertising, but how much has yet to be determined, Monseur said. H&K

made its presentations with Ross Advertising of Peoria.



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