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Throughout the world, there are examples of great civil engineering which demonstrate how mankind continues to push our natural limitations and surpass expectations. Whether one regards engineering as a vocation, a talent or a form of art, it cannot be denied that mankind has continued to deliver impressive examples of design and that continue to inspire younger generations to follow in its footsteps. Here we discuss some of the best examples of engineering in the world.
10. Qingdao Haiwan Bridge
Designed by the Shandong Gaosu Group, the Qingdao Haiwan Bridge in Eastern China stretches 41.58km, taking the title of the world’s longest over-water bridge. It is also known as Jiaozuo Bay Bridge of as it connects the city of Quindao with the suburbs of Huangdao across Jiaozuo Bay and its size is reflected in the cost of its construction, as the project cost the equivalent of over SG$1.58 billion, and four years of construction and at least 10,000 workers to complete.
9. Burj Khalifa
Having broken numerous records including the world’s tallest building, the highest observation deck in 2010 and the building with the most floors (211 to be exact), Burj Khalifa is certainly an example of awe-inspiring civil engineering. The designers of the 829.8 metre building were Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) who successfully created a centrepiece to the new Downtown Dubai development through the pattern of the building which was inspired by traditional Islamic architecture. Burj Khlaifa got its name from the current ruler of Dubai and president of the United Arab Emirates of the same name. The building, which cost US$1.5 billion to make, is a landmark of the city as well as in popular culture having been featured in the film ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ in 2016.
8. The English Channel Tunnel
At a cost of the equivalent to £12 billion today, the English Channel Tunnel is another engineering giant that claims a world record as when it was opened it was the most expensive structure ever completed. It also holds the record for the longest undersea tunnel and comes second to the Seikan Tunnel in Japan for the worlds longest tunnel. Since opening in 1994, the Channel Tunnel has been used as a passageway for the Eurostar trains to get from Folkestone in the UK to Coquilles in northern France, as well as a fast route for vehicles taking the Eurotunnel shuttle.
7. The Golden Gate Bridge
Opened in 1937, the Golden Gate bridge is regarded as one of America’s treasures and its beauty is recognised throughout the world. The bridge connects San Francisco to Marin County and until 1964 it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. Not only is it significant in its size but also in its cost which came to a total of US$27 million.
6. Hoover Dam
The Hoover Dam, named after US President Herbert Hoover, is a perfect example of an arch-gravity dam. It was constructed between 1931 and 1936, during the Great Depression, in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River. This giant structure was built in order to enclose Lake Mead, America’s largest reservoir. The dam came to a total of US$49 million to complete and cost more than just money as hundreds of workers lost their lives during its creation.
5. Panama Canal
Construction on the Panama Canal started in 1881 and cost US$375 million by the time it was opened in 1914. The 48-mile-long canal is made up of a series of artificial channels and lakes which links the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and locks at both ends. The canal is an important waterway for international maritime trade as it passes through the Isthumus of Panama, from which it got its name.
4. Brooklyn Bridge
The iconic Brooklyn Bridge was designed by John August Roebling, a German engineer who died before its completion in 1883 and therefore passed the project onto his son, Washington Roebling. The bridge which is used for transport between Manhattan and Brooklyn passes over the East River and cost $15.5 million to build. In 1964, it was declared a historic landmark as it is one of the oldest bridges in America and is an iconic feature of New York City.
3. Aqueduct of Segovia
This aqueduct is a wonderful example of Roman construction and despite being built in the 1st century it has managed to remain as one of the only fully intact Roman structures on the Iberian Peninsula. The aqueduct, which is situated across 14km of Spanish landscape, was used for thousands of years to carry water from the Frío river into Segovia and continued to up until the 20th century.
2. Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is an immense monument which has stood for over 2,000 years between Dandong and Lop lake which makes the length of the wall, including its various branches, a total of 21,196km. The wall is a tourist hot spot and visitors are permitted to walk along the parts of the wall which remain making it one of the most awe-inspiring monuments in the world. There are no records of how much the wall would have cost to build but it has been estimated it's between US$13 billion and US$65 billion in modern day times would have been spent on its construction.
1. Great Pyramid of Giza
The structure which takes first place in our top 10 most impressive civil engineering projects of all time is the Great Pyramid of Giza and due to its size and history, it is not difficult to see why. The pyramid is the largest and most ancient of a collection of three pyramids which are situated near El Giza, Egypt, from where they get their names. The purpose of the pyramid is believed to have been to house the tomb of Khufu, an Egyptian pharaoh who ruled during the fourth dynasty and whose vizier (or advisor), Hemiunu, was the architect behind the design. It is estimated it would cost around US$5 billion to recreate the pyramid in the modern day. Not only is the Great Pyramid of Giza the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, but for over 3, 800 years it was also the tallest man-made structure in the world.
These examples are widely believed to be ten of the most impressive civil engineering projects of all time and cannot be denied as impressive examples of what we humans can achieve. The future for engineering does not stop with these ancient and modern monuments as can be seen with the building of the Shanghai Tower in 2015 and the Millau viaduct, the tallest cable-stayed road bridge in the world. It is evident that humans have many more creations to introduce the world to and with technology, are becoming more advanced, meaning these structures are set to be just as impressive as the last.
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