ADOT communications director, internal newsletter win national honors

ADOT communications director, internal newsletter win national honors


ADOT communications director, internal newsletter win national honors

ADOT communications director, internal newsletter win national honors

By Kathy Boyle / ADOT Communications
August 31, 2020

Recently, we shared exciting news that ADOT had won three regional awards in the America’s Transportation Awards competition. This competition is sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AAA. We are awaiting word if one of our award-winning projects has been selected as making the “Top 12” list, to compete for the highly coveted national recognition as the top transportation project in the country.

AASHTO has a similar competition among communication offices in departments of transportation across the country; it’s called the TransComm Skills competition. Communication offices submit entries that meet the criteria set in 30 categories, including print and electronic marketing, public awareness events, video production, best news release and more. What makes earning the recognition from TransComm so special is that it comes from our peers.

This year’s competition was fierce as 192 entries were submitted across the 30 categories, with winners declared last week. We are proud to announce that ADOT was recognized as having the “Best Internal Publication” for our employee newsletter, The Inside Lane.  Our newsletter focused on ADOT’s 45-year anniversary and showcased employee memories and the evolution of ADOT from 1974 to the present. That's the cover from the July 2019 edition celebrating the anniversary you can see in the image above.

We also are excited to announce that ADOT’s Communications Director Tim Tait is this year’s “PR Professional of the Year;” a well-deserved award for a respected leader who has been with the agency since 2006. This recognition is given to an individual who demonstrates superior professional character, exhibits exemplary professional achievements, creates a positive impact on the communications profession and agency, and has earned the respect of peers and co-workers - all qualities Tim exhibits each and every day at ADOT.  In his acceptance speech during TransComm festivities, Tim said “I simply try to make tomorrow better than yesterday as my guide as a leader and team member.”

Well said, Tim Tait, well said!

Some changes in store for the ADOT Blog

Some changes in store for the ADOT Blog


Some changes in store for the ADOT Blog

Some changes in store for the ADOT Blog

March 10, 2016

Images from past blogs.

Angela De Welles / ADOT Communications

After almost 800 posts, it’s time to change the way we do things here on the ADOT Blog…

Now, we’re not talking about anything too drastic.

We’re still going to share stories that help foster meaningful conversations about transportation – not just about a construction project that will affect your daily commute – but conversations that put people in touch with services we provide and involve people in transportation issues and solutions.

If that line sounds familiar you must be a long-time reader because it is one that we used in our very first post and it still holds true!

What’s changing is that we’re going to have more people telling those stories. In fact, you may have already noticed a few new bylines in recent days. Our hope is that these new voices give you a fresh look at what ADOT does and how we do it.

By the way, we are not going far … or, maybe we should switch things over to first-person and say, I am not going far.

I’m still here at ADOT and may even pop in to write a post every now and then!

So, thanks for reading the ADOT Blog these past five years.

I know I’ve discovered a lot about Arizona’s transportation system by writing this blog. I hope you’ve been able to learn more about the state’s transportation story by reading along. Stay tuned for new and exciting things to come!

A few of our favorite posts...

From asphalt to zipper merges and everything in between, the ADOT Blog has covered plenty of transportation topics over the years. While it’d be impossible to choose the top post, we’ve gone back and selected a few favorites.

We have to start this list off with the ADOT Blog’s very first post – this is where we spelled out all our goals for the blog.

Anything having to do with the Deck Park Tunnel is interesting to us. Through the ADOT Blog, we’ve learned how the tunnel gets clean, what its construction looked like and even why other tunnels are down there too. We celebrated the tunnel’s birthday just last year and have shared a few videos, including this one from the afternoon a produce truck spilled its contents in the westbound lanes.

We really do enjoy the science of transportation, including this post that taught us how ADOT utilizes an Accelerated Weathering Tester to foretell how well paint will hold up against the elements (trust us, it’s more interesting than it sounds).

We love the history of transportation, too. That’s why the From the Archives series is one of our favorites!

Remember Rocky the Ringtail? How about all those posts that show what it takes to move oversize loads through the state? We can’t leave out this dog rescue, or this one. OK, this list really could go on and on, but we’ll wrap it up here.

Top 10 things we learned from writing the ADOT Blog in 2015

Top 10 things we learned from writing the ADOT Blog in 2015


Top 10 things we learned from writing the ADOT Blog in 2015

Top 10 things we learned from writing the ADOT Blog in 2015

January 5, 2016

We learned a lot about transportation and ADOT in 2015.

When you look back on 2015, will you remember it as the year you finally learned why Arizona has an MVD instead of a DMV?

Depending on how obsessed you are with transportation-related facts and trivia, you just might! In fact, regular readers of this blog probably have a number of ADOT-inspired takeaways from 2015. We know we do, which is why we thought it’d be fun to examine the top 10 things we learned from writing the ADOT Blog in 2015...

1) A lot of people really do love a good Sasquatch sighting. This post was published at the very start of 2015 as way to kind of explain this photo posted by ADOT to Facebook and Twitter. As of today, the photo has been shared on Facebook almost 5,000 times. It has more than 4,400 likes and more comments that we can even count. Not sure if our blog post “explanation” did much to convince the Big Foot believers.

2) Truck escape ramps serve a very important purpose. Thankfully we learned this without having to take a ride in a runaway truck. All we had to do was feature this video that shows how truck escape ramps are able to effectively stop a truck or other vehicle that has lost use of its brakes.

3) Work zones have been around for decades. We shared some photos from work zones of the past, but realized that drivers haven’t always had the resources they have today that help them safely maneuver through those project sites.

4) How to repair a massive sinkhole. OK, we’re not saying we could now actually repair a sinkhole on our own, but this video featured back in February showed us how crews worked to quickly repair a sinkhole on SR 89A in the Oak Creek Canyon switchbacks. The process included excavation of about 15 cubic yards of material and the use of a liquid concrete-cement mix.

5) When a road falls down a mountain, it takes a whole lot of work to fix it. In April 2015, the landslide-damaged portion of US 89 south of Page reopened to traffic. Crews had worked for months to repair the major damage caused to the roadway after a 2013 landslide forced a 23-mile closure between the junction of SR 98 in Page and US 89A near Bitter Springs. We blogged quite a bit about this project.

6) Why ADOT builds roundabouts. It was a question we’d heard many times: Why does ADOT build roundabouts? We answered with this video and blog post from September (spoiler alert: they can help to reduce crashes and improve traffic flow).

7) Some lessons can happen safely near the side of a freeway. We learned a lot when we tagged along with some ASU students as they took a “behind the scenes” tour of the Loop 101 widening project. The students heard how ADOT’s Roadside Development section provides landscape, architectural and environmental technical design direction for projects statewide.

8) Why you should turn off your vehicle lights once you’ve pulled aside. Every year we provide a list of tips for drivers who encounter a dust storm and every year we get questions on one of those safety recommendations. In 2015, we took to the blog to explain why you should turn off your vehicle lights once you’ve pulled your vehicle off the road during a dust storm.

9) The Deck Park Tunnel has a history. The Deck Park Tunnel turned 25 in August 2015 and we blogged the milestone. By the way, did you know the Deck Park Tunnel isn’t technically a tunnel?

10) How a 1.8 million pound load moves through Arizona (hint: very slowly). When a 1.8 million pound load was set to come through the state, we knew we had to blog about it. The haul contained a really big transformer, and while it wasn’t the biggest load to move through Arizona, we learned that it was one of the heaviest transformers to ever travel on our state highways.

Happy New Year and thanks for looking back with us. We’ll still be blogging about ADOT in 2016 and we hope you’ll continue to follow along!

ADOT Communications Division earns awards

ADOT Communications Division earns awards


ADOT Communications Division earns awards

ADOT Communications Division earns awards

October 7, 2014

This photo earned an award from the AASHTO "Faces of Transportation" competition.

Regular readers of the ADOT Blog know that once a year we write about something called TransComm.

It’s the annual meeting for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Subcommittee on Transportation Communications. The conference, which was hosted in Arizona this year, is an opportunity for transportation communicators from around the country to gather, learn and exchange ideas with one another.

The TransComm skills contest award ceremony is always an exciting portion of the conference and this year’s event was no exception…

On Sept. 30, state DOTs were awarded for their communication efforts and we’re very happy to report that ADOT’s communications team took home several awards! Those honors include:

As if that weren’t enough good news, we were thrilled to learn that one of our ADOT photographers earned another award from AASHTO. This one was part of the “Faces of Transportation” photo/video competition, which according to AASHTO, “recognizes outstanding images submitted by state department of transportation employees and the general public.”

You can check out the winning photo above. That shot of the old US 80 Gillespie Bridge won in the “historic projects” category.

OK, enough about us! We’re honored by the awards, but we’re even more grateful to have an audience that reads our blog, watches our videos, stays updated through our news releases, visits our website and views our photos. Thank you for connecting with ADOT!

From the ADOT Archives: Communicating with the Public

From the ADOT Archives: Communicating with the Public


From the ADOT Archives: Communicating with the Public

From the ADOT Archives: Communicating with the Public

February 26, 2014

National Transportation Week Display from 1980

Back in May of 1980, ADOT marked National Transportation Week with this outstanding exhibit that was displayed inside Phoenix's Central Library.

From the three-dimensional freeway models behind glass to those nifty pennants up top, we think this thing is pretty impressive even three decades later.

But beyond appearances, the display really seems to be getting a message across.

With headings like “ADOT: A National Leader in Research” and “ADOT: Constructing Roads While Fighting Inflation,” the exhibit boards are helping tell ADOT’s story to those library patrons.

Since this blog is helping to tell ADOT’s story today, we find it particularly interesting to learn what was being communicated to the public a long time ago in a era far, far away (“The Empire Strikes Back” would be released just nine days after these photos were taken!).

So, we broke out our magnifying glass to see what is written on that top right panel. Here’s what we were able to decipher:


National Transportation week display on ADOT's innovations from 1980

ADOT Constructing Roads While Fighting Inflation
Embracing terrain ranging from living desert to breathtaking vistas of Arizona’s Northland, the 6,000 mile State Highway System leads motorists through some of the most gorgeous scenery in America.

The roads that all of us take for granted, however have become more expensive to build and maintain in the face of double digit inflation. A Five-Year Transportation Construction Program updated annually helps the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) meet the basic needs of one of the fastest growing states in the nation.

The 1,660-mile Interstate System in Arizona is now 97% complete, progress continues on the Superstition Freeway in the Mesa area and projects are identified for improvements statewide – funds permitting.

Every aspect of Arizona’s present and future depends on the efficient movement of people and products. Indeed, transportation is the state’s “lifeline” –contributing to our collective growth and happiness.

Surprisingly, the words don’t sound too outdated. It makes us wonder what ADOT’s message will be in the year 2048!

It’s safe to say things have changed since 1912 when the Arizona Highway Department was first established. But you don’t just have to take our word … we’ve got plenty of pictures to prove it. We combed through our archives and decided to periodically post these photos from the past in a blog series we’re calling, “From the ADOT Archives.”

ADOT communication campaigns win 6 national awards

ADOT communication campaigns win 6 national awards


ADOT communication campaigns win 6 national awards

ADOT communication campaigns win 6 national awards

September 26, 2013

The TransComm Skills Award winners receive a trophy made from Michigan’s state stone.

And the winner is … ADOT!

We were thrilled to learn just this morning that ADOT’s Communications Division received several awards at the 2013 TransComm conference.

TransComm, by the way, is the yearly meeting for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Subcommittee on Transportation Communications. That’s a long title, but basically this conference is where transportation communicators from state departments of transportation get the chance to learn and exchange ideas with one another.

Held this week in Grand Rapids, Michigan, TransComm is also the place where DOTs are recognized for the work of their communications and public relations teams with the annual TransComm Skills Contest.

So, about those awards
ADOT received the following honors this morning for the 2013 TransComm Skills Contest:

Excel Award (without a consultant) for the Pull Aside, Stay Alive public education program. This honor represents AASHTO’s highest award for public relations programs and campaigns! ADOT’s entry included details on the Pull Aside, Stay Alive campaign and efforts by ADOT to engage the public using social media, traditional media, public service announcements, a website and signage.

Best Television Commercial or Public Service Announcement for the Pull Aside, Stay Alive video. In only 30 seconds, this impactful video shows viewers the very real danger of driving in a dust storm.

Issues/Crisis Management Communication for the communications program in response to the US 89 landslide. This award recognizes the efforts made and actions taken to communicate information concerning the US 89 landslide, both to residents near Page and to travelers passing through the region.

Best Micro-Blog for the ADOT Twitter account (which now has more than 25,000 followers!!). This award recognizes the use of a social media platform to inform and engage the public.

Best use of social media in a campaign for the Pull Aside, Stay Alive Haboob Haiku challenge (remember #HaboobHaiku?). This award recognizes how ADOT used social media to get the important safety message out.

Best Display for the 20 Years of Partnering trade-show display. We showed you this award-winning display when we blogged about this year’s International Conference on Ecology and Transportation. The display also was used at the recent Roads and Streets Conference and other industry events.

TransComm 2014, here we come

You may remember that at last year’s TransComm, it was announced Arizona would be the host state for the 2014 conference. Now, the countdown is really on and we’re looking forward to hosting our colleagues next year!

Welcome to the new ADOT Blog

Welcome to the new ADOT Blog


Welcome to the new ADOT Blog

Welcome to the new ADOT Blog

August 16, 2013

ADOT's new blog home.

If you’re reading this post it means you’ve found the ADOT Blog’s new home…

So, what do you think?

We really like the new space and hope you’ll take some time to look around and see how the entire ADOT website has been redesigned with you in mind.

That’s right, after receiving a lot of feedback and putting in many (many) hours, ADOT’s Web Team has created a new site that’s organized to help you discover exactly what you need.

Whether you’re looking for MVD locations, the latest on a project, information on doing business with ADOT or the latest news, you’ll find it all on the new site – it’s just been arranged a little differently in an effort to make your experience better.

After you’ve had a while to look around and take it all in, let us know what you think. You can leave a comment here on the blog, or provide your thoughts by clicking on the feedback tab on the left side of the site.

Community outreach and US 89

Community outreach and US 89


Community outreach and US 89

Community outreach and US 89

July 16, 2013

Last week, when we shared with you the long-term repair solution that has been proposed for US 89, we explained how experts studied the area for months and put together a comprehensive report that includes a major amount of geological data (seriously, the report is 463 pages).

Completing that geotechnical investigation has been a VERY crucial step toward eventually being able to restore the route, but we cannot forget to mention an equally important effort that has nothing to do with mapping, subsurface exploration, lab tests or slope stability analysis.

Community Outreach

Since the landslide occurred and forced the closure of a 23-mile-long stretch of US 89 just south of Page, ADOT has been working with residents, businesses and community leaders. The goal is not only to learn how the closure affects drivers in the area, but also to find ways to lessen those impacts.

“Our role is getting out there and getting engaged with the citizens,” says ADOT Assistant Communications Director Brock Barnhart in the video above. “We had to look at the business community, we had to look at the tourism side of it and then we also had to look at the Navajo Nation. We had meetings directly with the communities through Chapter House meetings.”

The communication outreach continues and it’s definitely not a one-way effort. ADOT wants to hear from you…

ADOT has office hours within Page City Hall, allowing members of the public to drop in, ask questions and get the details they need.

There is a project hotline (855-712-8530) and of course, you can always reach out to us through Twitter, Facebook and the blog comments. We’ll work hard to keep you updated and we’re here to listen to your comments and concerns.

ADOT identifies long-term US 89 repair solution

ADOT identifies long-term US 89 repair solution


ADOT identifies long-term US 89 repair solution

ADOT identifies long-term US 89 repair solution

July 11, 2013

A rendering of the current site (left) and the proposed repair solution (right). Click on graphic for larger view.

The geotechnical investigation on US 89 (you know – that one we’ve been blogging about since February) is complete and we’re thrilled to share news of the results…

Based on a comprehensive study of the area (one that has included geologic mapping, subsurface exploration and monitoring, laboratory tests and slope stability analyses), a proposed long-term solution to repair the damaged highway near Page has been identified. It will involve cutting back the mountain slope and constructing a gravity buttress wall. The repairs, at an estimated cost of $40 million, could take more than two years to complete.

The geotechnical report

If you’ve been following along on the blog, you already know that just about immediately after the landslide occurred, ADOT began assembling a team of geotechnical experts to examine the stability of the mountain slope and searching for options available to reopen the roadway. That months-long investigation produced a 463-page report that concludes the recent landslide was a reactivation of a small portion of an ancient landslide, but little to no new movement has occurred since testing began.

The report also lists several alternatives for the ultimate repair of US 89, but the construction of a landslide buttress and upslope lane adjustment was considered the most geotechnically feasible preferred alternative.

The buttress, a wall-like support structure composed of rock, would be built at the base of the slope and the highway travel lanes would be moved farther to the east by creating a new cut into the existing slope in the Echo Cliffs (see graphic above). In addition to the buttress, the report reviewed several other alternatives.

Moving forward

At a later date, ADOT will formally request additional federal aid to fund the repair of US 89 through the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief program, which reimburses state and local jurisdictions for the repair or reconstruction of highways, roads and bridges damaged in natural disasters and catastrophic failures.

ADOT has also worked with the Navajo Nation, Navajo Division of Transportation, Bureau of Indian Affairs and FHWA to restore mobility to the area as soon as possible by paving Navajo Route 20, a 44-mile-long route, which (ADOT identifies long-term US 89 repair solution once paved) will significantly reduce travel time for motorists heading to and from Page and the Lake Powell area. Construction on N20 started in late May and is scheduled to be complete in August.

ADOT Twitter reaches milestone: #20,000 Tweets

ADOT Twitter reaches milestone: #20,000 Tweets


ADOT Twitter reaches milestone: #20,000 Tweets

ADOT Twitter reaches milestone: #20,000 Tweets

January 14, 2013

ADOT recently Tweeted for the 20,000th time!

Don’t know how closely you’ve been tracking ADOT’s Twitter feed lately, but something big just happened over there.

At about 7 a.m. today, ADOT’s 20,000th Tweet went out to the masses!

In light of this milestone, we thought it’d be fun to revisit some of our favorite Tweets from recent months. Before we get to that, though, let’s take a very quick look at how ADOT has been able to use Twitter as a powerful communication tool...

Since launching in 2008, ADOT’s Twitter account has been used to inform and update its followers (right now there’s 18,210 of them, but that number just keeps rising!). Whenever there’s an incident that’s going to have an impact on the highway – crashes, vehicle fires, weather events, etc. – you can bet ADOT will be Tweeting about it. ADOT also has been able to use Twitter to promote key safety messages (remember the ‘Pull Aside, Stay Alive campaign? #HaboobHaiku) and answer questions directly from drivers.

Now, as promised, here are just a few of our favorite Tweets from recent months – a mix of informative and humorous! After you're done reading them here, head over to Twitter and see what our next 20,000 Tweets will be about!

  • Way too much red tonight on this traffic heat map. Gotta have more green and the only prescription is...cowbell? (Nov. 30)
  • Cow caravan: On US 60, about 5 miles west of SR 72, we have a report of cows walking along the roadway. (Dec. 24)
  • Emergency kits for a holiday drive should include things you'll need if there is an unexpected delay: Water, snacks, blankets, flashlights. (Nov. 21)
  • Can't wait to return that horrible sweater from Grandma? Before going to the mall, check road conditions first! (Dec. 27)
  • That's not NAU graduation confetti in Flagstaff - that's snow! (Dec. 14)
  • Mother Nature took out the white paint brush this morning in the Painted Desert. This pic is on I-40. #azwx (Jan. 7)
  • Looks like there's an upside to the Mayan #Apocalypse: Very light rush hour traffic this morning! Who knew? (Dec. 21)
  • It's a zoo on the roads today in Apache County! Watch for llamas on Route 264 at milepost 457, and horses on Route 191 at milepost 409. (Jan. 5)
  • Making a holiday road trip in Arizona? If so, check out our handy map of Arizona rest stops. (Nov. 28)
  • What is going on today? In the last hour, drivers have lost a fridge, Christmas tree and hay bale on AZ highways. Secure your loads, folks! (Dec. 8)