The total cost of MWPAP is $2.29 billion. The program comprises 324 separate construction contracts,1 and construction costs represent $1.6 billion of the total cost. The underground component, with construction costs of approximately $900 million, consists of 20 miles of 17-to 32-ft-diameter rock tunnels lying 300 ft below the ground surface, 24 drop shafts and approach channels connecting to that deep system, and 62 miles of small-diameter (i.e., 60 to 144 inches) near-surface collector tunnels at depths of 30 to 100 ft below the surface.

Organization of MWPAP

The owner of MWPAP is the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD), which was the first special service agency in the United States. CH2M Hill is the program manager and as such is responsible for planning, design, construction management, cost and schedule control, and claims management or mitigation. All construction contracts were procured using the normal public works bidding process. Construction contracts are between MMSD and the construction contractor. Eighty-eight engineering firms work under direct contract to CH2M Hill, with a maximum of 650 personnel. At the height of construction in the late 1980s there were 75 active construction contracts, employing 1,200 construction personnel.

The controlling regulatory code for safety is the federal OSHA code. Underground construction is governed by Subpart S, "Tunnels and Shafts, Caissons, Cofferdams, and Compressed Air," which was revised in 1989. Subpart K of the OSHA regulations, "Electrical Code," was another critical regulatory component for the program. Safety on MWPAP was also under the review of the Wisconsin Department of Industrial Health and Labor Relations.

The roles and responsibilities of team members are well defined and have been throughout the program. The owner, MMSD, alone has the authority to shut down work for any reason. MMSD also committed to fund, train, and have available the rescue team for all underground contractors. To meet this commitment, the Milwaukee Fire Department assembled three full rescue teams staffed through the Milwaukee metropolitan area that meet the OSHA 30-minute response criterion, with more than adequate backup for the second team. Finally, and most importantly, the prime construction contractor (i.e., the organization responsible for the work on site) carries the overall responsibility for work-site safety.


MWPAP's 324 separate construction contracts have been distributed across the years of the program's existence.

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