Around the world, gigantic engineering and infrastructure projects are opening up or are closing in on their completion. Skyscrapers are reaching for new record heights, huge tunnels are establishing new transportation connections, and colossal bridges are spanning greater distances than ever before. So Best Design Projects selected the five most impressive Megaprojects finished within the last three years and those under construction.
1 – Panama Canal Expansion, Panama
The first of the five most impressive Megaprojects is the Panama Canal expansion project, also called the Third Set of Locks Project, which took 11 years and a cost of 5.25 billion to be finished and it doubled the capacity of the Panama Canal. The expansion added a new lane of traffic allowing for a larger number of ships, and increasing the width and depth of the lanes and locks allowing larger ships to pass. The new bigger ships, called New Panamax, are about one and a half times the previous Panamax size and can carry over twice as much cargo.
The project has:
- Built two new sets of locks, one each on the Atlantic and Pacific sides, and excavated new channels to the new locks.
- Widened and deepened existing channels.
- Raised the maximum operating water level of Gatun Lake.
2 – Port Mann Bridge, Vancouver
The Port Mann Bridge is a 10-lane cable-stayed bridge that opened to traffic in 2012. It is currently the second longest cable-stayed bridge in North America and was the widest bridge in the world until the opening of the new Bay Bridge in California. The new bridge replaced a steel arch bridge that spanned the Fraser River, connecting Coquitlam to Surrey in British Columbia near Vancouver. The old bridge consisted of three spans with an orthotropic deck carrying five lanes of Trans-Canada Highway traffic, with approach spans of three steel plate girders and concrete deck. The total length of the previous Port Mann was 2,093 m (6,867 ft), including approach spans. The main span was 366 m (1,201 ft), plus the two 110 m (360 ft) spans on either side. Volume on the old bridge was 127,000 trips per day. Approximately 8 percent of the traffic on the Port Mann bridge was truck traffic. The previous bridge was the longest arch bridge in Canada and third-longest in the world at the time of its inauguration.
3 – Three Gorges Dam, China
The Three Gorges Dam took 17 years to be finished and is a hydroelectric dam that spans the Yangtze River by the town of Sandouping, located in Yiling District, Yichang, Hubei province, China. The Three Gorges Dam, a $59 billion project of 181,36 m tall (595 ft) and with 32 main turbines producing electricity, is the world’s largest power station in terms of installed capacity (22,500 MW).
4 – One World Trade Center, New York
One World Trade Center (also known as the Freedom Tower, 1 World Trade Center, One WTC and 1 WTC) is the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan, New York City. It is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and the sixth-tallest in the world. The super tall structure has the same name as the North Tower of the original World Trade Center, which was completely destroyed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The building’s architect was David Childs, whose firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) also designed the Burj Khalifa and the Willis Tower.
5 – Aizhai Suspension Bridge, China
The Aizhai Bridge (Chinese: 矮寨大桥) is a suspension bridge on the G65 Baotou–Maoming Expressway near Jishou, Hunan, China. The bridge was built as part of an expressway from southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality to Changsha. With a main span of 1,146 meters (3,760 ft) and a deck height of 336 meters (1,102 ft), as of 2013, it is the seventh highest bridge in the world and the world’s fifteenth-longest suspension bridge. Of the world’s 400 or so highest bridges, none has a main span as long as Aizhai. It is also the world’s highest and longest tunnel-to-tunnel bridge. The bridge contains 1888 lights to increase visibility at night. Construction on the Aizhai Bridge began in October 2007 and was completed by the end of 2011, ahead of schedule. The bridge was temporarily opened to pedestrians during the 2012 Spring Festival and was formally opened to traffic in March 2012. The bridge was built with the assistance of a $208 million loan from the Asian Development Bank; the total project cost was $610 million, which included 64 kilometers (40 mi) of expressway construction (two-thirds of which comprised bridge and tunnel) and upgrades to 129 kilometres (80 mi) of local roads. The bridge and the associated road construction were projected to reduce the travel time between Jishou and Chadong from 4 hours to less than 1 hour. In September 2012, the Aizhai Bridge was the site of an international BASE jumping festival that included more than 40 jumpers from 13 countries.
Sources: Popularmechanics and Wikipedia