Caltrans District 8 honored by CAPIO and PRSA IE awards


District 8 Pubic Affairs wins an award for The Swarm

For its work on keeping the public informed about "The Swarm" project on State Route 60, District 8 received two awards, including this one from the California Association of Pubic Information Officials.

District 8 photo

By Kimberly Cherry
District 8 information officer

Caltrans is honored to have received two separate awards for community outreach: The California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO) “2020 EPIC Award of Distinction” in the category for Communications and Marketing Plan/Campaign – Consultant Supported, and the Public Relations Society of America Inland Empire Chapter (PRSA-IE) “Polaris Capella Award” for Campaign-Community Relations for the State Route 60 (SR 60) “Swarm” outreach campaign.

The 60 Swarm campaign was also one of five projects chosen to represent California at The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) awards.  

CAPIO is the leading statewide organization, with more than 700 members, dedicated to advancing public sector communicators across all levels of government in California. The professional organization educates, supports and provides resources for Public Information Officials. The CAPIO EPIC Award recognizes the “best of the best” in government communications throughout the state.

PRSA-IE is the local chapter of the national professional organization the Public Relations Society of America. The Polaris Capella awards recognize successful public relations efforts that represent the “highest standards of performance in the public relations and communications profession within the Inland Empire”.

AASHTO's America’s Transportation Awards are dedicated to recognizing the best in transportation, showcasing the transportation infrastructure and why proper funding is so vital.

Caltrans began working on the 60 Swarm outreach campaign in 2019 with the support of Green Com, Inc. and Connect & Company PR to develop a strategic plan to alert the traveling public of two impactful projects that were going to begin on State Route 60 (SR-60) between Chino and Riverside. The first project, a $134.5 million SB-1 funded pavement rehabilitation project, is currently repaving deteriorated pavement on SR-60 between Riverside and Ontario with an expected completion date of late 2021.

The second project, a $23 million SB-1(the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017)  funded bridge replacement project, is also in construction on SR-60 replacing three bridges in order to meet more recent vertical clearance standards at Pipeline, Monte Vista and Benson Avenues in Chino and Ontario, and will be complete in late 2021.

Caltrans, aware that the long-term nighttime and daytime closures along with traffic reconfigurations, 55-hour closures and other future construction projects in the area would require a sizable outreach campaign, developed the award-winning comprehensive outreach plan. The roadwork was dubbed the 60 Swarm due to multiple projects taking place at the same time.

The campaign was launched to the media, stakeholders, partner agencies, emergency responders and the traveling public in mid-2019. The success of the outreach resulted in traffic diverting around full closures on SR-60 between Riverside and Ontario for more than 18 weekends. The 60 Swarm became high-profile with the media and caught the public’s attention as they advised motorists to avoid the roadwork and use alternate routes.

The project was well accepted by commuters, the trucking industry, local businesses and residents. They cited the smooth ride, among other benefits.

The project was well accepted by commuters, the trucking industry, local businesses and residents, They cited the smooth ride, among other benefits.

Caltrans District 8 acknowledges the partnership with Green Com, Inc. and Connect & Company PR for their professional leadership and involvement in launching the Swarm campaign and for submitting the award to CAPIO and PRSA-IE. We also acknowledge our local partners: the cities of Riverside, Jurupa Valley, Eastvale, Ontario, Chino, Chino Hills, and Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) for their support and input to reduce impacts to their region during the projects.

We also express gratitude to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) for working with Caltrans and the contractor, J. Mc Loughlin Engineering, to provide safety for the work crews and the traveling public.

Congratulations to Caltrans District 8 staff in Public and Legislative Affairs, Construction, Traffic Operations, Project Management and Design for their innovative solutions to make two challenging projects a win-win for both the public and Caltrans.