Bridge Answer man column: Trulove key in CDOT communications
Tracy Trulove is the CDOT Region 3 communications manager. Many of you may not know that her experience spans working in communications for companies such as Disney and Gannett.
Tracy started with CDOT three years ago, during the environmental assessment and public involvement process of the Grand Avenue bridge project. She leads the bridge communications team as well as overseeing the communications needs of 15 counties in CDOT Region 3, which covers the entire northwest quarter of the state. As part of the regional leadership team, Tracy works on a variety of communications initiatives both inside CDOT and with the public, bringing stakeholder groups together for transportation planning, issue identification and communications plans.
Part of managing in the region is the challenge of balancing each community’s different transportation wants and needs with the available funding. Tracy tells me there is a general lack of understanding about transportation funding — there are different transportation funds for specific types of improvements and, almost always, the requests outweigh the resources. Tracy used the bridge project as an example of how working with local funding partners to collaborate and find innovative ways to stretch dollars can accomplish a project to everyone’s satisfaction.
One commonality in all these communities is the focus on multimodal connectivity and pedestrian use, and how pedestrians and cyclists interact with the roads we build.
“Our communities in the West are very active, and requests for more trails or bikes lanes on or near the highway system are common,” she said.
Tracy enjoys the challenge of identifying regional needs, collecting insights and making recommendations. Some of the best insights she collects from the region are often developed out of spending time in the field with the maintenance crews. “Every CDOT project ultimately requires CDOT to maintain the roadway or trail and ensure its safety for the traveling public.”
Tracy said it is a very exciting time to be in the communications profession because so much of the practice is changing with the variety of social media and digital platforms. “Social media has changed the way we educate and inform people — and can only improve the way we continue to communicate.”
When there is a crisis-related event requiring quick response, Tracy is the official public information officer for Region 3. Often, her strong relationships with local agencies allow for a swift and strategic approach to crisis communications. From planning sessions with the executive team to rolling up her sleeves and working in the field with the maintenance crew, Tracy’s communication expertise is in high demand throughout the region. “At the end of the day, I’m amazed at how hard everyone at CDOT works to make a safe environment for the traveling public.”
“We recognize how challenging a dynamic project like the Grand Avenue bridge can be on a community, but it’s important for folks to remember that many of us on the team are locals, and we are living through the challenges of trying to figure out how to get our families from point A to point B daily as well.”
The left turn pocket on Eighth Street and the Grand Avenue bridge will close for several months as construction crews begin building the structural walls for the traffic bridge.
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