Support During Construction
The City of Longmont recognizes that businesses located in a work zone have special needs. It’s critical that their customers have access and that they continue to patronize the businesses, in spite of any road work inconvenience.
Longmont helps these businesses in a variety of ways, including providing information to help businesses help themselves. Additionally, the City provides information that residents and customers can use to help them determine the best way to continue accessing and supporting businesses during work periods.
It is important to note, however, that not all construction activities are led by the City of Longmont. Utility agencies, developers and other private interests require construction in Longmont, too. Communication and outreach is provided in those cases directly by the managing entity, following the City’s guidelines for business notification and access requirements.
The City aims to involve businesses throughout design and construction of its projects by sending project notification letters, holding open houses and/or meetings, creating project websites and email lists, and even going door to door within the planned work zone to discuss impacts and hear concerns.
All of this pre-construction outreach and involvement is done in an effort to help businesses and stakeholders prepare for City-led projects and begin planning to cope and survive during construction.
Materials such as the Cone Zone Survival Guide may also be distributed to help businesses with suggestions for surviving and even thriving through a long construction period.
Ideally, a contractor can repair or rebuild a road more quickly and less expensively if all traffic is removed during the work; however, that is not feasible many times to maintain access to businesses and minimize the impacts on them. The City understands the importance of clear and convenient access to businesses during construction and, for this reason, approaches City-led projects with this as a high priority (even if doing so results in more time or cost). Additionally, signs and variable message boards are commonly used to clearly identify access points and parking opportunities.
Communication & Support
Throughout construction, the City works hard to be in close contact with impacted businesses so that needs and concerns can be quickly addressed. From City staff to the hired contractor, there are several touch points for communication with businesses. When work occurs in the downtown area, for example, the Longmont Downtown Development Authority (LDDA) also serves as a point of communication to support and assist the impacted businesses.
The City and LDDA work together to promote messaging of “Support Business in the Cone Zone” during construction projects downtown, including display of special banners to highlight the message. These banners hang on light posts in the downtown corridor to encourage spending at impacted businesses.
It is always unfortunate to see a local business struggle, or worse, have to close its doors. The City does its best to prepare businesses when construction is required, maintain access, and provide ongoing communication and support. In the end, businesses also have to do their best to plan ahead, get involved and try new methods to make it through construction and ultimately benefit from the improvements made.
When the project is done, both businesses and their customers will look at the changes as definite improvements. The temporary inconvenience will be just that—temporary. The long-term results of construction can include increased safety, better drainage, upgraded utilities, enhanced access, and an improved image—all benefits that will last for years to come.