Prince Contracting

Prince Contracting copyPrince Contracting puts the finishing touches on the I-75 at University Parkway project while taking on new contracts due to damage from Hurricane Irma.

By Janice Hoppe-Spiers

For three decades, Prince Contracting has been a civil construction leader in Florida specializing in highway, heavy construction and site development, self-performing a majority of its work. It is because of its expertise that the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) chose it to build the state’s first diverging diamond interchange, which is also the largest in the country.

The high-profile I-75 at University Parkway in Manatee and Sarasota counties is a $74.5 million, 745-day project that started in August 2015. The diverging diamond interchange opened in May and Prince is about 90 percent completed with the project.

Prince added auxiliary lanes, as well as milled, resurfaced and widened the existing lanes. Work also included new bridge construction, including a temporary Acrow bridge, existing bridge rehabilitation, base work, shoulder treatment, drainage improvements, guardrail, curb and gutter, concrete traffic separators, sidewalks, signage and installing an intelligent transportation system on I-75.

“We are in the last few months of construction and have the new overpasses complete on I-75, and traffic on University Parkway is running in the new alignment,” says Ryan Jackson, contracts administrator. “We are about 90 percent complete on the project.” prince box

Now that the work is mostly completed, there are six eastbound and six westbound lanes on University Parkway and extra lanes on I-75, which were all designed for motorists’ safety, FDOT says. The new traffic configuration moves both directions of University Parkway traffic to the opposite sides of the road where the thoroughfare meets the interstate.

“This traffic pattern design was specifically chosen for the Interstate 75 and University Parkway interchange because it was felt it could best manage the high volume of opposing left turns and the high volume of traffic,” FDOT Communication Specialist Robin Stublen told the Bradenton Herald.

Prince’s biggest challenge on the I-75 at University Parkway project was completing and opening the diverging diamond interchange in time to receive the full incentive. “We were able to achieve those goals by implementing an aggressive schedule, working six to seven days each week,” Jackson says.

Irma’s Impact

Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida on Sept. 11, causing about $19.4 billion in damage, according to Florida International University researchers. Prince prepared for Irma’s impact by closing its projects more than a week in advance of the hurricane hitting Florida.

“We have been in the process of completing remedial work on our projects since resuming the week of Sept. 18,” Jackson says. “Overall, since we were able to prepare, and depending on the location of the project, the impact was minimal.

“Hurricane Irma’s impact was minimal on the I-75 project due to the advanced completion of the work,” he continues. “Most of the drainage and permanent erosion control features were completed before the storm impact.”

Prince is now working on 16 projects throughout Florida, including several emergency contracts from the FDOT to repair damage caused by Hurricane Irma. Safety is the top concern for Prince on all of its projects.  “Safety on-site is our No. 1 priority and is maintained by a staff of highly trained, qualified and competent employees under the supervision of our safety managers,” Jackson says.

Quality Performance

Founded in 1983 in Palmetto, Fla., Prince performs all the critical elements of civil construction and transportation projects. It primarily focuses on transportation and infrastructure development for state and municipal authorities across Florida and the Southeast.

Jackson has been with the company for a decade. After having been out in the field for most of his career, Jackson now works as the contracts administrator in the company’s headquarters, handling subcontracts, purchase orders, contracts with owners, design/build contracts and joint-venture agreements.

Bid/build and design/build roadway projects are the company’s specialties, as its crews can perform the clearing, earthmoving, drainage, utility, road base, bridge and concrete work. In 2014, Prince was acquired by Dragados Construction USA, a subsidiary of ACS Group, one of the largest civil construction companies in the world.

“In the heavy civil world, estimating is critical,” Jackson says. “Florida is getting more into design/build projects and working with engineers and designers as opposed to the low-bid approach. Our estimating department is constantly working on putting the best possible bids together.

“That is why we’ve been doing more of the design/build kind of work over the last six years,” he continues. “We’ve won and completed a number of design/build projects. That is an area where we have been seeing a lot of progress, and our estimating team is doing a great job in that area.”

Moving forward, Prince will continue to seek projects and growth in Florida, as well as seek new opportunities to venture outside of the state. “We learned [from the I-75 project] that we can take on new and not widely used – at least in Florida – design concepts and successfully plan, implement and complete the work within our established goals and deliver a successful project to FDOT and the citizens of Florida,” Jackson says.

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