Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Go into the underground steam tunnels of downtown Milwaukee

Deep underneath Downtown Milwaukee runs an intricate network of tunnels and pipes -- nearly 39 miles in all -- delivering pressurized steam to hundreds energy customers every day.

That's where Managing Editor Bobby Tanzilo explored in this week's edition of Urban Spelunking.

A little background -- steam from the system is serves about 400 W.E. Energies industrial customers, most of them in Downtown Milwaukee, providing energy needed to heat buildings and water and sterilize equipment for food service and medical equipment.

Northwestern Mutual, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Rockwell Automation, Milwaukee Art Museum and the City of Milwaukee are just a few of W.E. Energies' steam customers, Tanzilo writes.

The cave-like tunnel system has been in place since the early 1900s, constructed of cream city brick, with portions actually running underneath the Milwaukee River.  In the late 1960s, the system was expanded and updated, implementing a more modern poured concrete construction.  

Tanzilo visited both sections of the system in his recent trip under the streets of downtown.  You can read the article in its entirety by following this link.

Click the podcast player above the photos to hear highlights from our interview, or listen to our entire conversation by clicking the Soundcloud player below.



Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee