New Group Offers “Concrete Solutions” to Upcoming Highway Construction

Friday, January 26, 2018

A highway reconstruction project will limit access to many Holdrege businesses this spring and summer and will surely cause residents and travelers to wonder how to get to the front door of a local restaurant or store.

But, a local group is hoping that with some pre-planning and teamwork, business traffic won’t be interrupted, and residents and visitors can easily navigate road closings and detours.

Concrete Solutions (#ConcreteSolutions2018) is the name chosen for a group whose members will work to assist businesses and residents during the highway project. It is led by staff and volunteers from the Phelps County Development Corporation and the Holdrege Area Chamber of Commerce.

The group will help the affected businesses remain successful during the project, which is scheduled to begin in late March and will involve reconstructing Fourth Avenue (Highway 6 & 34) from Garfield to Nobes Street.

Allison Fritsche, past chamber president and sales engineer at Glenwood, said the highway construction project in 2015 was an eye-opening experience as traffic counts and sales slowed at many businesses. Communication to customers about how to access businesses was sometimes difficult.

“From the chamber point of view, we need to be a little more proactive this time around,” Allison said. “One of our main goals is better community advocacy.”

Concrete Solutions 2018 has three main goals:

  • To advocate for businesses along the route through pre-planning and education and to share marketing, event or sales ideas to keep customers shopping during the project.
  • To keep an open line of communication between local businesses and the state officials working on the project so that everyone knows the agenda.
  • To encourage business owners and customers to remain optimistic, realistic and positive through the construction process.

The initial Concrete Solutions team has been communicating with state highway officials since August 2017 to stay informed on the upcoming project.

The group has also formed a Facebook page, Concrete Solutions 2018-Holdrege Highway Project, where they will post maps, communicate road closings or even announce business specials and sales during the construction, which may last until October.

Allison said one challenge the Holdrege Area Chamber of Commerce will face is organizing people and traffic during Swedish Days and the Central Plains Rib Fest, which will occur in mid-June during the midst of the construction project.

Concrete Solutions members are already planning for better signs and communication to travelers entering Holdrege from both the east and west.

A public information meeting for business owners affected by the construction is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, at Taste of Texas. Business owners my volunteer to be part of the Concrete Solutions team at that meeting or by contacting Allison or Carley at PCDC.

For more information: Carley Bruning at PCDC at (308) 995-4148 or at Carley@PhelpsCountyNE.com or Allison Fritsche at (308) 995-2121.

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