Cape Coral's expansion includes 960,000 linear feet of sewer gravity pipe, 520,000 feet of water transmission and distribution pipeline, 450,000 feet of reclaimed water mains, and 32 sewer pumping stations. Photo: MWH
New wastewater treatment plants in Cape Coral will eventually meet the needs of 17,000 customers. Photo: MWH

Through a collaborative effort, the city and its management contractors have worked with the community to keep the project on time and on schedule. In the first year, they completed the North Cape Industrial Park, which allowed them to assess and develop policies and procedures that would then be used in all additional expansion projects. The Pine Island Road Corridor expansion was launched in the second year and provided more than 4000 water, sewer, and reclaimed water services to both residential and commercial customers.

Over the next three years, the team completed projects in various residential areas. They are currently working on the final $43 million project that includes 960,000 linear feet of sewer gravity pipe; 520,000 feet of water transmission and distribution pipeline; 450,000 feet of reclaimed water mains; and 32 sewer pumping stations—all to meet the needs of 17,000 customers. The associated design and construction work was accomplished through 19 separate work authorizations for design, program management, and construction management.

The expansion program also rebuilt more than 120 miles of road—enough pavement to stretch from Cape Coral to Miami. “One of the biggest benefits of this program is the relationship we've developed with the community. It's allowed us to understand their issues and concerns, and for them to see results,” said Pavlos.

The disruption to residents in delivering the utilities to the property right of way is significant. Developing a 90/90/90 program, the project team implemented a system to track the team's goal of 90% restoration to 90% of the areas within 90 days. By reporting the goal's status to the subcontractors at the monthly coordination meeting, the team stayed on top of this critical issue.

The city of Cape Coral is convinced that the PM at Risk model offers many advantages in performing large utility infrastructure expansion—so much so that they have awarded MWH another five-year contract. This contract was awarded after being opened to competition in 2003 and includes another $250 million in utility-pipe work, but also includes a similar expenditure in water and wastewater plants needed to meet the increased demand.

Through this program, Cape Coral has built a network that ensures that residents will continue to receive high-quality drinking water, a dual water system for water conservation, improved public safety through installation of fire hydrants, and improved environmental stability by eliminating many septic tanks. “The results to date have been amazing,” said Pavlos. “We're building an infrastructure that is already contributing to our economic growth and long-term viability as one of the best places to live and work in the country.”

John Darmody is program manager and Larry Laws is deputy program manager with MWH in Cape Coral, Fla.