Friday, March 8, 2013

Now that we've got your attention...

By Nicole Sherbert
ADOT Assistant Communication Director

It would be an understatement to say that we’ve experienced a bit of a surge in our social media audience of late.

Those of us who have spent the last few years working to build ADOT’s online network would love to believe that our spontaneous increase in viewers, followers and readers is due solely to our engaging content and commitment to transparency…

Or, it might have something to do with the photo to the right.

If you’re reading today’s blog post, chances are you are at least familiar with the context of this photo, but just in case, a quick recap:

On Feb. 20, a landslide ripped through the mountainside at US 89 in northern Arizona about 25 miles south of Page forcing ADOT to immediately and indefinitely close the highway – a major travel route in an area where – to use engineer speak – there is little redundancy of travel routes.

To help spread the word of the road closure and evolving situation, we immediately took to our social media outlets, starting with tweeting and posting to Facebook the photo above. Within two hours, that single photo had been shared and retweeted nearly 1,000 times. Within 24 hours, the shares of that and related photos climbed to more than 6,000 – leading to a Facebook estimated one-week reach of nearly 400,000 users.

Within 24 hours, a YouTube video explaining the situation had been viewed 5,000+ times. To date, it and two subsequent videos have been viewed close to 50,000 times.

But why does this matter? Sure, they were dramatic photos, but outside of the wow factor, what’s the point?

The simple answer is to rapidly spread important information.

While US 89 is a rural road in a relatively remote part of the state, an average of 5,000 people a day travel that stretch of highway and traffic increases dramatically in the coming weeks when folks around the world head to Lake Powell and nearby national parks and monuments.

So how do we reach people to get the word out that motorists should expect a detour but that Page and the surrounding areas are still open for business? By reaching out to a network broader than just our own.

And this is when social media is at its best…when users serve as real-time information sources to reach an extended, networked audience.

But, what now? 
If you are one of the 1,600 people who “liked” us on Facebook the week of Feb. 20, I’m guessing that leading up to seeing those photos you may not have even known ADOT had a Facebook page, more or less a blog and YouTube channel. And while we can’t tell you how much we wish it was under different circumstances, we’re glad you found us and hope you stay engaged.

We’ll continue to provide updates about US 89, but we have a lot of really important information to share and we hope you’ll continue to help us spread the word. Here are three great ways to start:
  1. Yesterday, we blogged about ADOT’s tentative Five-Year Construction Program and asked you to provide comment. And while it lacks the drama of a quarter-mile landslide, it is your opportunity to have your voice heard about the future of your Arizona highway system. 
  2. Do you, or anyone you know, travel in southern Arizona? Then you might want to share this blog post from Monday explaining that a bridge removal in southern Arizona will necessitate the closure of I-10 south of Tucson for about nine hours tonight. (And the only way around is a 67-mile detour.) 
  3. On Monday we will be launching a new public safety campaign aimed at protecting the lives of everyone who drives or works on Arizona roadways. And while we’re still putting some final touches on the website, we thought we’d give you a sneak peek just for being a loyal blog follower. 
If you’re new to our social media network, we hope you’ll stick around, ask us questions and continue to share our information. And for those who have been around for a while and helped us build our social media foundation, thank you.

20 comments:

  1. Is it still possible to visit Horseshoe Bend near Page?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rene,
      Yes, it is possible to visit Horseshoe Bend. Southbound US 89 – from the intersection of SR 98/US 89 to the landslide site – is open to local traffic.

      Thanks for reading!

      Delete
  2. I was just wondering the same thing. We're headed to Page at the end of the month.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is possible to visit Horseshoe Bend. Southbound US 89 – from the intersection of SR 98/US 89 to the landslide site – is open to local traffic.

      Thanks for reading!

      Delete
  3. Is it likely the road will still be closed in early April? thanks Paul

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good morning, Paul.
      At this time, there is no estimate for reopening US 89, but we are committed to restoring access as quickly as possible.

      In early April, you should allow for some extra time and follow the detours.

      Thanks!!

      Delete
  4. How much time should we add to take the eastern detour to Page?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jim,
      You'll definitely need to plan for extra travel time, but the exact amount will depend on a few factors like where you're starting from, traffic conditions, etc.

      The entire detour that you're talking about -- which requires motorists to travel east on US 160 to State Route 98 and north on SR 98 to Page, is roughly 45 miles longer than the direct route would be.

      You can visit our website at azdot.gov/US89 for more information, including a map, videos and updates.

      Delete
  5. I have a question. Repair or ends in late April.
    From Japan,Yuki.

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. Yeah seriously are public vehicles still plying that route?I know taking a detour into town maybe a lot of work ,but it sounds safer.

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  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good morning, ecogen. We unintentionally deleted your comment -- sorry about that!

      Below, you can find your comment/question and our answer ... thanks!

      (Original comment)
      Hi there,
      I was wondering if the road will be still closed in June
      What about the idea of an detour using the Navajo tribal road? Any idea how long will it take?

      Thanks

      (Answer)
      US 89 is currently closed indefinitely from the US 89A junction to Page (SR 98 junction). There is no timeline for reconstruction right now, but you can stay up to date by visiting azdot.gov/US89.

      As for the road you mention, ADOT is not recommending that through traffic use Navajo Route 20. The roadway, especially at night or following inclement weather, is not an acceptable replacement for ADOT’s highways. If the roadway is paved as a temporary detour, we will be able to recommend it as an alternative, but for now, in the sake of safety, we urge drivers to use the established detour route (US 160 and SR 98).

      Delete
  9. I was wondering after all the work is complete on Hiway 89 toward page, what are the probabilities of its re-occurence. I have seen photo's from early 60's prior to the current hiway running along that slope, it sure indicate the continuing shifting of ground. Even before the thought and plans of a major hiway the Dine' people living in the area (bitter springs) spoke of how unsafe that region is from shifting grounds, underground moisture which does exist along the cliff areas making it very unstable to sustain or have traffic to continue use as such. I believe the safe most viable route is through Gap/Coppermine road. Despite community and tribal concerns. Just comments and concerns...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good afternoon,
      We appreciate that you’ve taken the time to share your comments!

      ADOT currently is conducting a geotechnical investigation at the site and our engineers are monitoring the stability of the slope. They’re also working to evaluate the cause of the landslide while assessing the safety of the slope.

      So, while it’s still premature to say how mobility will be returned to the area, you can know that safety is the No. 1 priority. Any solutions concerning the ultimate repair of US 89 will be based on the geotechnical investigation that’s happening now.

      To keep updated on what’s happening at the site, be sure to visit azdot.gov/US89.

      Delete
  10. To ADOT and agencies who are responsible for the safe travel along the hiways. My concern is along hiway 264 about 1-2miles southeast of the Tuba City. There is a section of the hiway which runs real close to steep cliff and occassional large boulder do fall on to the hiway. About a year or so ago a Semi slammed into the side of the cliff and there were some chemicals or substance that were spill onto the hiway and cause major detour. This is the main atery for traffic going to Coalmine, hopi mesa and east ward toward Chinle, Window Rock as well. When situation or road closure all is shut down pretty much no detour or anyway around it. How ? and who can make some alternate plans, or remedy situation in the future.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good morning and thank you for your question.

      It would be great if we had alternate route plans that didn't lengthen the time to get from point A to point B. However, this would be extremely costly for minimum benefit since incidents occur randomly throughout the system.

      ADOT does have alternate route plans that allow us to detour onto other state routes and we do our best to expedite and reopen the road during incidents.

      Thanks for reading!

      Delete
  11. After visiting horseshoe bend, is it possible to drive US89 North Bound back to Page?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good afternoon,
      That portion of US 89 (from the intersection of SR 98/US 89 to the landslide site) is open to local traffic. So, yes ... getting to Horseshoe Bend from Page (and back to Page again) is possible!

      Thanks for reading!

      Delete

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