The following are the Top 10 most impressive Civil Engineering Projects ever undertaken by humanity.
The Quingdao Haiwan Bridge (also known as Jiaozuo Bay Bridge) is a 16.6 mile long roadway bridge in eastern China’s Shandong province. As of December 2012, Guinness World Records lists the Bridge as the world’s longest bridge over water (aggregate length) at 25.84 miles.
The bridge was designed by the Shandong Gaosu Group and took 4 years to complete, employing more than 10 000 people. The bridge is designed to withstand earthquakes up to 8.0, typhoons and impacts of 300,000 ton ships. It was constructed with 450,000 tons of steel and 2.3 million cubic meters of concrete and is supported by more than 5000 pillars with a width of 35 meters and 6 lanes and two shoulders.
The costs of constructing the bridge vary; the official state-run television company reported the total cost to be £900 million, while other sources reported costs as high as £5.5 billion.
The Burj Khalifa is a mega tall skyscraper in Dubai with a total height of 2,722 ft including the antenna. Built on the Dubai government’s decision to diversify from an oil-based economy and also to gain international recognition, it is currently the tallest structure in the world.
The building was named in honour of the ruler of Dubai and president of the United States Arab Emirates. The tower was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and uses a bundled tube design. The primary structure is made up of 330,000 m3 of concrete and 55,000 tonnes of steel. Construction took 22 million man-hours. The structure cost $1.5 billion to build.
At the time of its opening in 2010, it had the highest observational deck in the world. The building has been featured in the 2016 film, ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’.
Burj Khalifa has broken numerous other records, including building with most floors at 211. The windows are made of 1,290,000 sq ft of glass and it takes 36 workers three to four months to clean the entire exterior façade.
The Channel Tunnel is a 31.35 mile rail tunnel linking Folkestone, Kent, in the UK, with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais in northern France, beneath the English Channel. At its lowest point, the channel is 75m deep below the sea bed, and 115m below sea level. The tunnel has the longest undersea portion of any tunnel in the world.
The tunnel carries high-speed Eurostar passenger trains, the Eurotunnel Shuttle for road vehicles, the largest such transport in the world and international goods trains.
Tunnelling commenced in 1988, and when it opened in 1994, the final cost was an astounding £9 billion, making it the most expensive construction project ever at the time. At the peak of construction 15,000 people were employed. Working from both the English side and the French side of the Channel, eleven tunnel boring machines cut through chalk marl to construct two rail tunnels and a service tunnel. On 1 December 1990, Englishman Graham Fagg and Frenchman Phillippe Cozette broke through the service tunnel with the media watching.
The Golden Gate Bridge is often considered one of the most beautiful bridges in the world. The suspended bridge spans the Golden Gate, the one-mile- strait connecting San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The bridge links the American city of San Francisco, California to Marin County. It opened in 1937 and was until 1964, the longest suspension bridge in the world with a span of 4,200 feet. The bridge is one of the most recognised and influential symbols of the United States.
Each of the bridges two main cables is made of 27,572 strands of wire and together the wire is roughly 80,000 miles long. Over 600,000 rivets were required to build the bridge which cost more than $35 million, completing ahead of schedule and $1.3 million under budget.
Constructed during the Great Depression, the Hoover Dam is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River. The design was overseen by the Bureau’s chief design engineer John L. Savage.
Six companies formed a joint venture to bid for the project and construction began in early 1931.
The construction of the Hoover Dam claimed hundreds of workers’ lives, and impounds Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States. The dam is named after President Herbert Hoover, and it took five years to build and cost around $49 million. The consortium turned over the concrete arch-gravity dam to the federal government on March 1, 1936, more than two years ahead of schedule.
Panama Canal is an artificial 48-mile waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean. The canal consists of several artificial lakes and channels, and two locks at either end to lift ships up to Gatun Lake, (an artificial lake created to reduce the amount of excavation work required for the canal) 26 meters above sea level, and then lower the ships at the other end. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is crucial for international maritime trade.
France began work on the canal in 1881 but stopped due to engineering problems. The United States took over the project in 1904 and opened the canal on August 15, 1914. The construction of a canal with locks was one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken and required the excavation of more than 170,000,000 cu yd of material over and above the 30,000,000 cu yd excavated by the French. When the canal was finally opened it cost the Americans $375 million.
Completion of the Panama Canal shortcut greatly reduced the time for ships to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, enabling them to avoid the lengthy, hazardous Cape Horn route around the southernmost tip of South America.
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest bridges in the United States, and is both a suspension and cable-stayed bridge. Completed in 1883, the bridge connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River. With a main span of 1,595.5 feet, it was the first steel-wire suspension bridge constructed.
The bridge was initially designed by German engineer, John August Roebling, but he was replaced by his son Washington Roebling who took charge of the project after his death. Started in 1869 and completed fourteen years later it cost $15.5 million to build. Since it opened, it has become a historic icon of New York City, and was designated a historic landmark in 1964.
More precisely known as the aqueduct bridge, this Roman aqueduct is one of the most significant and best-preserved ancient monuments left on the Iberian Peninsula. It is located in Spain and is the symbol of Segovia.
The date of the Aqueduct’s construction is a mystery although it was thought to have been during the 1st century AD. It once transported water from the Rio Frio river which is situated in mountains 17 km from the city in the La Acebeda region. It runs 15 km before arriving in the city.
The bridge consists of 24,000 granite blocks made without the use of mortar. The first section of the aqueduct contains 36 semi-circular arches which provide support to the structure. On the upper level, the arches are 5.1 meters wide. The top of the structure contains the channel through which water travels, through a U-shaped hollow measuring 0.55 tall by 0.46-meter diameter.
The aqueduct is the city’s most important architectural landmark. It had been kept functioning throughout the centuries and preserved in excellent condition. It provided water to Segovia until the mid 19th century.
The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions. With a history of more than 2,000 years, many sections of the Great Wall of China are in ruins, but it is still one of the greatest wonders of the world, and an immensely popular tourist attraction.
Several walls were being built as early as the 7th century BC and these were later joined together and made bigger and stronger, and are now collectively referred to as the Great Wall, stretching in over 5,500 miles of the country from Dandong in the east to Lop lake in the west. The entire wall with all its different branches, measures out to be 13, 171 miles. Up to 25,000 watchtowers are estimated to have been constructed on the wall.
It is not known exactly how much the wall cost to build, but modern calculation estimate it would be somewhere between $13billion and $65 billion.
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex, bordering El Giza, Egypt. It is the only one to remain largely intact. Initially, at 146.5 metres, the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for more than 3,800 years.
It is believed that the pyramid was built as a tomb for the fourth Dynasty Egyptian pharaoh, Khufu and was constructed over a twenty-year period.
Experts estimate that it would cost around $5 billion to build a replica today.
Over the centuries there have been many great civil engineering projects that have become historic landmarks. Engineering has created some of the biggest and most amazing structures in the world. Other engineering projects shows the ability of engineers to create unique visions that have impressed mankind such as the Millau viaduct, which is the tallest cable-stayed road bridge in the world and as recently as 2015, the Shanghai Tower skyscraper in China, which is now the second-tallest building in the world. As advanced technology continues to pave the way for more engineering creations, there is a bright future ahead for engineering.