The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) has won the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association’s (IBTTA) 2019 Toll Excellence Award for Customer Service and Marketing Outreach for its work during the construction of the Selmon West Extension.
THEA has received the international recognition for its innovative excellence in community outreach during the ongoing US$230m Selmon West Extension Project, which is due to be completed by June 2020. The Selmon West Extension scheme is a 1.9 miles (3km) long toll lane that is currently under construction in the median of Gandy Boulevard, which will give drivers the option to access Gandy Boulevard for local destinations or use the Selmon Extension for a direct connection to the Selmon Expressway or the Gandy Bridge. THEA is a user-financed public agency led by a board of local citizens that develops and owns toll highways, operating with no tax revenue. THEA, along with the other winners of this year’s Toll Excellence Awards will be honored during IBTTA’s 87th Annual Meeting and Exhibition that takes place on September 15-17, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
So far on the Selmon West Extension Project, THEA’s marketing and communications team have worked hand-in-hand with members of the surrounding communities, and residents and business owners along the Gandy corridor to ensure all stakeholders were well-informed and involved before construction began. THEA’s team developed and executed a multifaceted local campaign that was innovative and community-centric. One initiative was ‘Shop Gandy!’, which was created to draw more customers to the businesses along the Gandy Boulevard corridor by using social media posts, earned media opportunities, and locally hosted events to help local businesses thrive during the construction of the Selmon Extension.
“Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority’s work on the Selmon Extension Project has led to greater engagement of the community in order to find creative solutions to help reduce congestion on Gandy Boulevard in Tampa while supporting businesses and residents,” said Patrick Jones, the IBTTA’s executive director and CEO. “This type of innovative solution and creative problem-solving through harnessing technological advancements and best practices are exactly what embodies a 2019 Toll Excellence Award winner. On behalf of the transportation community, we congratulate the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority on this well-deserved recognition.”
Joe Waggoner, executive director and CEO of THEA, said, “We are honored to receive this international award and recognition. The indispensable work we do partnering with our community is a major pillar of our work. We recognize that for any construction project to be successful, we must have continuous transparent dialogue with those that it affects. We accept this award on behalf of the entire Tampa Bay community who have been so integral to this effort.”
THEA’s board chairman, Vincent J Cassidy, added, “We are thrilled IBTTA is awarding us with the Toll Excellence Award for Customer Service and Marketing Outreach. THEA is invested in the betterment of our community, and the communication’s team multi-faceted outreach effort exemplifies our commitment to the health and growth of our region.”