Middlesex Corporation Completes ’BeautiVacation’ of Route 192

Thu June 08, 2006 - Southeast Edition
Brian Kern

It pays to complete a job ahead of schedule in Florida — in this case it paid approximately $1 million.

The Middlesex Corporation of Orlando took advantage of Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) ’No Excuse Bonus’ while completing a 3.2-mi. (5.1 km) stretch of commercial state Route 192 in Osceola County south of Disney World. According to Senior Project Manager Chris Sousa, the maximum amount allowable under the bonus specifications is $1 million or $8,000 for each day the job is completed ahead of schedule — up to 125 days.

The project that began on Jan. 25, 2004, was completed on March 24 of this year. Sousa said the company finished the job in Kissimmee 115 days (five months) ahead of schedule, despite having to halt construction four times during the 2004 hurricane season.

“This was the fourth and final phase of the 10-year 192 project,” Sousa said. “We had to do a lot of rework — the hurricanes really hurt our schedule.”

Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne hampered the momentum and added extra labor costs, affecting Middlesex’s bottom line in a negative way. However, as an added intangible bonus, Middlesex gained a good bit of notoriety from the community and local officials for its resolve and for doing something that rarely happens any more — wrapping up the project several months prior to the contracted completion date.

The 789-day job used 1,140 barrier drums, which had to be removed and replaced each time a hurricane blew through.

“The state was very good and helped us with our extra labor costs,” he said.

The $30.2-million project expanded state Route 192 West from four to six lanes between Hoagland Boulevard and state Route 535.

In typical tourism industry fashion, the business community along 192 coined a new term to call attention to the area’s aesthetic enhancement: BeautiVacation.

Middlesex installed new roadway and sidewalk lighting. Sousa said the company installed 179 roadway light poles and 155 decorative sidewalk lighting fixtures. The sidewalk fixtures line the street like purple candy canes — to match the Disney color scheme, according to Sousa.

Middlesex owns its construction equipment. Among the machinery used were 10 excavators including John Deere 450s, Cat 330s and several John Deere 650 dozers.

The job called for a lime rock base to be laid under the pavement. One specialized machine used in the process was a CVMI 4503 lime rock trimmer.

“The job called for a 10-inch base, so we laid 11 inches to allow for grading. The lime rock trimmer milled off the last inch — it was highly productive.”

Sousa said he used approximately 40 subcontractors and Middlesex used approximately 60 of its own employees, “Some days there were 140 workers on the site.”

Sousa said Osceola County kicked in an extra $6 million to pay for fine tuning, landscaping and beautification.

“That money was used for things like bus transit stops and benches — and $1.8 million was used for landscape irrigation,” Sousa said.

Audrey Clark, public information officer of FDOT said the three main subcontractors were Vila & Sons for the landscaping and irrigation, Cathcart for underground drainage and Mastec for street lighting, traffic signals and landscape lighting.

Clark said the job called for removal of 135,000 cu yds. (123,000 cu m) of embankment. There was 244,000 cu. yds. (223,000 cu m) of excavation all together, and 109,000 cu. yds. (100,000 cu m) of dirt were hauled away she said.

“While there was a bridge removal, we maintained two lanes of traffic both ways — there were lane closures at night for certain times,” Clark said. “There was normal impact to businesses but it was well managed.”

Clark said 44,000 tons (40,000 t) of asphalt was used in the project, with the asphalt crews working mainly at night.

The project was designed to bring traffic patterns on state Route 192 up to current standards. Clark said the end result is increased property values.

“This is great for the local tourism industry,” Clark said. “It also adds tremendous safety improvements for the community.” CEG