North Tarrant Express / 35W Expansion
In 2009, a 13.5-mile stretch on one of Texas’ most-congested highways — the Loop 820 and Airport Freeway corridor — was selected for funding through an innovative public-private partnership. Cooksey Communications assisted in branding this major project as the North Tarrant Express (NTE). With a project area crossing over six municipalities, communications efforts required extensive and strategic outreach to mitigate the impact on the 170,000 cars that travel across the corridor daily.
During a nine-year effort, Cooksey developed a multi-faceted public outreach plan that kept residents, commuters, businesses, municipalities, transportation officials and state elected officials abreast of the project‘s progress. To help travelers avoid delays and provide accurate road work information, Cooksey built a comprehensive website and regularly updated NTE’s social media channels so stakeholders could check the status of the project in real time. Cooksey closely leveraged its relationships with local transportation leaders and advocacy groups, as well as with traffic reporters at local media outlets, to help communicate high-priority closures to all stakeholders. Regular presentations to community groups and city councils, public open houses, door-to-door outreach to local businesses, advertising and special events all provided additional ways to tout the benefits and progress of the project. Our firm’s involvement continued through the transition from the NTE portion of the project to the expansion of I-35W.
Further supporting the project’s legacy, Cooksey oversaw the project’s communications efforts through the opening of the redeveloped travel lanes and for several years after project completion.