After the 35W bridge collapse that garnered national headlines this past August, the Minnesota Department of Transportation needed some image restoration help, badly.
Well, now they’re getting it, to the tune of a $550k contract awarded to Himle Horner, a local communications firm with close ties to the Governor.
The Star Tribune reports:
The firm, Himle Horner Inc., has been leading a “proactive, on-the-ground” initiative since last fall that includes information kiosks, attempts to shape media coverage and weekly “sidewalk superintendent tours” of the construction work.
A PR plan also promised to use a webcam to beam a half-hour live educational show from the bridge site to all Minnesota school-age children whose classrooms have Web access.
It’s all part of a strategy that helped Flatiron Constructors, which hired Himle Horner as a subcontractor, win the $234 million bridge contract.
Not everyone is happy. Margaret Donahoe of the advocacy group, Minnesota Transportation Alliance told the Star Tribune, “That was a big surprise to a lot of people.” the PR emphasis, especially for a project that many are eager to see completed, was noteworthy. “Who’s against building a new 35W bridge?” she said.