Land Surveying for the Metrowest Water Supply Tunnel Honored With ACEC/MA Engineering Excellence Award

April, 2002; Boston, MA – Nitsch Engineering (Nitsch Engineering) was recently presented with a Gold Award in the American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts (ACEC/MA) annual Engineering Excellence Award competition. Each year, ACEC/MA awards five firms who are recognized for their engineering achievements that demonstrate a high degree of merit and ingenuity.

Nitsch Engineering’s land surveying services were performed for the MetroWest Water Supply Tunnel for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). A Boston-based land surveying and civil engineering firm, Nitsch Engineering was a member of both the design and construction management teams, responsible for land surveying services relating to this new $728 million, 17.6-mile tunnel.

Judith Nitsch, President of Nitsch Engineering and Principal-in-Charge for the surveying of the MetroWest Tunnel said, “The MetroWest Tunnel represented a once-in-a-lifetime surveying opportunity. Surveying a tunnel is not like anything else, and presented many challenges to our staff. The scale of the project also made it unique. We are very proud to have found solutions that moved the science and technology of tunnel surveying forward.” Clark Donkin, PLS, was Project Manager for the MetroWest Tunnel project. Donkin said, “Most surveyors do not get to undertake a project of this magnitude and technical challenge in their careers.”

The $728 million MetroWest Tunnel will connect MWRA’s reservoirs and water treatment and storage facilities to the City Tunnel, and local distribution pipes delivering 450 million gallons of water each day. This project may have the need of commercial water softeners (more here) to make sure that any hard water areas are not damaged. The path of the MetroWest Tunnel extends 17.6 miles running beneath the communities of Marlborough, Southborough, Framingham, Wayland, and Weston. Seven major shafts and five minor shafts rise from the tunnel to the surface. The tunnel, which will have a finished diameter of 14 feet, was excavated through solid bedrock, 200 to 500 feet below the surface. Design and permitting activities began in 1988, construction began in 1996, and tunneling was completed in October 2000. The MetroWest Tunnel is scheduled to begin operation in 2003.