Top 10 most expensive infrastructure projects, Money changes the world, sometimes literally. Today, people can build and move large objects at incredible speeds. We can redirect rivers, create new islands, and do many other things that seemed impossible a few decades ago. Judging by the gained pace, humanity is not going to stop at what has already been achieved in the near future. Absolutely every project has a final cost, most often calculated in US dollars. Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent annually on the creation of infrastructure facilities. We present to your attention a list of the ten most expensive construction projects that have ever been created in the history of mankind. Costs have been adjusted for inflation to reflect what they would have cost today.
10 Channel Tunnel – $ 22.4 billion
Thanks to the tunnel, it became possible to get to London from Paris in just 2 hours 15 minutes, in the tunnel itself trains are from 20 to 35 minutes. The Channel Tunnel consists of three parts: two railway tunnels almost 8 m in diameter at a distance of 25 m from each other and one service tunnel almost 5 m in diameter. Each segment reaches a length of about 50 km.
The construction cost 15 French and British companies $ 22.4 billion. Increased safety requirements and environmental measures have resulted in an increase in the final cost of the project by 80% of the original budget.
9 Big Dig Boston Tunnel – $ 23.1 billion
This building is the most expensive construction site in the history of the United States. The tunnel itself is an 8-lane motorway. The construction of the tunnel itself took place in several stages. The original cost of the tunnel was estimated at $ 2.5 billion.
When the first stage of construction was completed, the tunnel had to be connected to the I-90 highway, but the difficulty was that on one side the tunnel rested against the Jilette plant, and on the other – against the US Postal Service building. Another problem for the builders was the construction of a tunnel under the strait. It seems to be nothing complicated, but a subway tunnel had already been laid along the bottom of the strait, the movement of trains in which could not be stopped. Then it was decided to build the Great Boston Tunnel over the subway. There was a risk that if a mistake was made, the ocean could flood both the future tunnel and the subway.
After the work was done, it was necessary to continue the construction of the tunnel under the city, the ground under which was fragile. For this, it was decided to freeze the soil underground. The tunnel itself passed five meters from the surface of the earth. When we got to the place where the tunnel and the highway were supposed to cross, it turned out that under the highway there is a high level of groundwater. To do this, underground, the base of the highway had to simply be raised in order to continue the construction of the tunnel. The movement on the motorway did not stop at the same time. The world’s widest bridge was specially built for the Great Boston Tunnel project.
8 Kansai International Airport – $ 29 billion
Kansai International Airport, built in the Japanese Bay of Osaka, became the first airport in the world to be built not on land, but on an artificial island. 10 most expensive infrastructure projects in the history of mankind the construction of the first stage of the air harbor was completed in 1994. Its cost at that time turned out to be fabulously expensive – $ 15 billion. To create two islands – the area of one is 820, and the other is 580 hectares – it was necessary to cover the bottom of the bay with special soil. Construction of the second island began in 2003 when it became clear that the heavy draft of the first one had noticeably slowed down – from 50 cm in the first year after the airport began operating to several centimeters by the time the decision was made to build a second runway.
An interesting fact: the second island was built slightly higher than the first. It turns out that the aircraft, when taxiing to the second runway (it was put into operation in the summer of 2007), had to overcome the rise. However, as expected, over time, the difference in heights leveled off – after the second island had completely settled. Now both are connected by a small narrow isthmus. But let’s get back to the origins of the construction of the Kansai airport.
The length of the runway at Kansai Airport is 1.7 km, while the length of the entire bulk island is 4 km, width is 1 km. Its central part is a four-story structure with a roof made in the form of an airplane wing. The building is supported by 900 columns, their technical condition is monitored around the clock by powerful computer systems – the structure was built with the expectation that it would withstand the most powerful earthquakes and typhoons.
The depth in Osaka Bay is 20 meters, while the bottom is loose and silty. Therefore, at first, the bottom was generously covered with rubble. This task was not so simple as it might seem at first glance: barges with stones went to the construction site in caravans, the unloading sites were determined by complex mathematical calculations, and satellite observation systems also helped the ships. Then a huge steel frame was erected around the perimeter of the island, which was methodically filled with special concrete, made using a technology that prevents its rapid destruction in an aggressive aquatic environment. But, before giving the artificial island a boundary in the form of a solid dam, the builders carried out the so-called “sand drainage” over the entire underwater surface where the artificial island was supposed to appear. A huge sea wall was also built from massive stone and concrete blocks. In total, 21 million cubic meters of soil was rammed at the bottom – the result was an embankment 30 meters above sea level.
The airport is connected to the “mainland” by a two-level bridge, which, by the way, cost $ 1 billion: in the lower part of it there are railroad tracks, and in the upper part there is a road. The capacity of one runway at Kansai Airport is more than 25 million passengers per year.
7 California High-Speed Rail Line – $ 33 billion
The project kicked off in 2015 and is slated to complete its first phase by 2029. The California high-speed rail project is set to surpass its original budget. This project is one of many, which was mentioned in the election campaign of President Obama.
The highway will have to connect several of the largest American cities with a high-speed rail network.
6 Songdo International Business District – $ 40+ billion
The Songdo International Business District will be built in South Korea near Seoul. According to some estimates, its cost will be more than $ 40 billion. It will be one of the most advanced smart cities in the world, with ubiquitous WIFI, automatic recycling plants, and other technological innovations. Exact copies of the sights of other cities in the world will be built here.
The Songdo IBD is being built to attract businesses and tourists and will be located next to Incheon International Airport.
5 Dubai land – $ 76+ billion
Construction on this project was stopped in 2008 due to the financial crisis in Dubai, then resumed in 2013. Then it cost investors $ 76 billion. It will be one of the largest and most expensive theme parks in the world: Disney theme park, Imax theatre, and many other attractions.
Dubai land’s design will be based on Arabian folklore and fairy tales such as The Thousand and One Nights.
4 Economic City King Abdullah – $ 86 billion
The city will become the most important landmark in Saudi Arabia. It will house several prestigious hotels, many luxury villas, prestigious universities, and a major airport. The city is mainly being built by Emaar, famous for the construction of the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa in downtown Dubai. Ericsson will work on the ICT infrastructure.
3 Kashagan fields – $ 116 billion
Kashagan in the Caspian Sea is the largest oil field discovered in the last 40 years. The peak production in the first phase of development, expected in 2020, should be 13 million tonnes of barrels.
It was initially planned to start production at Kashagan in 2005, but the dates were postponed. The project participants explained this by the complexity of the development. Production began on September 11, 2013, but was soon suspended due to a pipeline break. I had to change the gas and oil pipelines. The new launch took place in 2016.
2 International Space Station – $ 150 billion
The modular orbiting research station known as the International Space Station (ISS) was worth approximately $ 150 billion. This figure may seem mind-boggling, but the score was shared by several countries, including Russia, the United States, Canada, Japan, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
1 US Interstate Highway System – $ 459 billion
The US expressway network is named after the 34th US President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was during his reign in 1956 that the National Interstate Highways and Défense Highways Act was passed and the construction of one of the longest road networks in the world was organized. The success of the project was ensured by costly research, which resulted in the definition of new construction standards, including the type of pavement, design of road signs, etc. Much attention was paid to traffic safety, therefore general rules were adopted. Here is some of them:
in order to exclude uncontrolled entry into the highway, all entrances and exits must be clearly regulated;
to avoid head-on collisions, roads should be separated by a concrete separator or a green stripe;
to ensure a safe exit from the hills, a maximum descent rate of 6% was determined, the maximum load was 36 tons;
road crossings must have high-speed connections, loops with turns at 90 or 180 degrees are unacceptable;
the highway must not be interrupted and have an access road parallel to the main road.
The law established uniform road construction standards, routes, and funding sources for all states. The minimum number of traffic lanes in one direction and the width of each lane were determined, requirements for the emergency lane were developed. This infrastructure project is the largest and most expensive project in the world and at the same time, the most promptly completed: the main part of the highways was erected in just 35 years!