The science and technology developed in the twenty-first century has given mankind some modern world wonders that were unthinkable even a few decades back. Such engineering wonders comprise of mega structures of skyscrapers, bridges, buildings, roads, tunnels, skyscrapers etc.
These mega-structures are truly awesome and jaw-dropping. These gigantic creations are the result of the best engineering techniques. These have changed the lives of millions for the better and have leveraged the benefits of scaling up.
Here is a list of top 14 engineering wonders of modern world that showcase the technological innovations, imagination and creativity. There are so many competing for their place in the top 14 list that it is inevitable to drop a few. However that does not takes away their greatness and many will still list them in their favourite lists. This list is based on the popularity and their quality of being uniquely spectacular that make people stare in amazement.
Here are the Top 14 Engineering Wonders Of The Modern World in 2017-2018
14. Oresundsbron Bridge, Denmark and Sweden
Also known as the Oresund Bridge, it is the longest combined road and rail bridge in Europe and connects two major metros; Copenhagen, the Danish capital and the Swedish city of Malmö. The Oresund Bridge connects the road and rail networks of the Scandinavian Peninsula with Central and Western Europe. It is a combined railway and motorway bridge across the Oresund strait between Sweden and Denmark. The bridge is 5 miles long from the Swedish coast to the artificial island Peberholm in the middle of the strait. Then it goes underwater 2.5 mile in the Drogden Tunnel to the Danish island of Amager.
The Oresund Bridge was designed by a Danish engineering firm COWI. The tunnel was made to avoid interfering with air traffic from the nearby Copenhagen Airport, to provide passage for ships and to prevent ice floes from blocking the strait. Construction began in 1995 and the bridge as opened in 2000. It cost €4.0 billion and will recover its cost by 2037.
13. The Bailong Elevator, Zhangjiajie, China
Also known as “Hundred Dragons Elevator,” it is the highest and heaviest elevator in the world that is installed outdoors. It is constructed on the side of a high cliff in the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in China. It has a height of 1,070 feet which is higher than the Eiffel Tower. It has three sets of double-storied high speed elevators which takes just two minutes to reach the top. It has a capacity of 50 persons at a time and carries 18,000 persons daily. The elevators have glass walls and the view is breath-taking. Built at a cost of $20 million, the construction was started in 1000 and completed in 2002.
12. The Venice Tide Barrier Project, Venice, Italy
This is the world’s largest flood prevention project that was taken up to prevent the city of Venice from tidal floods and getting submerged. The picturesque city of Venice had been facing the threat of being submerged in recent years by the rising sea levels. The engineers conceptualized a unique method of using rows of gates to stop the flood waters by sealing off the city from the rising tides. The project consists of huge rotating gates each having an area of 6.500 square feet, which are large metal boxes on the sea floor. In case of high tides, the water is emptied from the gates using compressed air, which makes the gates rise and stop the tide water. There are 78 such gates and the work started in 2003. The project cost was €5.4 billion and it was completed in 2015.
11. Beijing National Stadium, Beijing, China
This Olympic stadium was built for the 2008 Olympic Games and is also known as the “Bird’s Nest” for it unique shape and architecture. It is the world’s largest steel structure and is made of about 26 miles of ‘unwrapped’ steel. It is made up of two independent frames, an inner concrete red bowl for seating and an outer steel frame weighing 42,000 tons. Designed by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, two Swiss architects, it can seat 80,000 people. In its class, it is the most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly stadiums in the world. The stadium is heated by underground geothermal pipes and also has provision for rain-water harvesting. The project cost was $ 423 million.
10. Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, Japan
Also known as the Pearl Bridge, this bridge is the world’s longest suspension bridge. It has the longest central span of any suspension bridge in the world and the span between its two pillars is almost two kilometres. The bridge links the city of Kobe on the mainland of Honshu to Iwaya on Awaji Island. It is built over Akashi Strait. At night the bridge tower shine brightly in rainbow colors every hour and in gemstone colors every half an hour. It looks like pearls strung together and that is how it got to be called the “Pearl Bridge.” It was completed in 1998 at a cost of $3.6 billion.
9. The New Valley Project, Western Desert of Egypt
This is the largest development project in the world, comprising of a massive irrigation system to reclaim a half-a-million acres of desert and make it a rich agricultural land. The rea is one-fourth of total area of Egypt. The New Valley Project’s is to create a second Nile Valley. It consists of building the Mubarak Pumping Station which is the heart of the project It was opened for operation in 2005. The station pumps water from Lake Nasser via a canal system through the valley. On completion, it will help provide 3 million jobs and over 16 million will reside in the nearby cities. The project cost is $90 billion and it is scheduled for completion in 2017.
8. Channel Tunnel, U.K. and France
Also known as “The Chunnel”, it is the world’s longest underwater tunnel that runs below the English Channel between England and France. Its construction was started in 1988 and completed in 1994. Out of its total length of 32 miles, 23.5 miles is underwater. At its lowest part it is 250 feet deep. The Eurostar trains running inside the tunnel travel at speeds of 100 mph and it takes about 20 minutes to reach from one end to the other. The Chunnel has two full-size tubes for rail traffic and an emergency tunnel next to these. At the time of construction it cost £5.8 billion. It is recognized as one of the “Seven Wonders of the Modern World” by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
7. Kansai Airport, Japan
It is the first ever airport to be built on an artificial man-made island. When there was no space for expansion of Osaka International Airport in Japan, the engineers built an island measuring 4 kilometres by 2.5 kilometres, for a new airport. It took the engineers three years to build and involved more than 10,000 workers along with 80 ships to excavate and drop the landfills to create an artificial island capable of handling the take-off and landing of wide-bodied big jets. It was completed in 1994 at a cost of $20 billion.
6. Palm Islands, Dubai, U.A.E.
It is world’s largest man-made island and one of the most massive innovative engineering feats in the world. It is located near Dubai in the Persian Gulf. The project belongs to Nakheel Properties, a land developer in the U.A.E. Its construction started in 2001 with the first of three islands, Palm Jumeirah. The other islands are Palm Jebel Ali and Palm Deira. Each island is conceived in the shape of a palm tree with a crescent-shaped rock encircling the top. The project has added 320 miles of seashore beaches. The innovative engineering involved using sand dredging ships, to fill the seabed with sand and spraying the sand on top of the rising surface of the island. This process was called ‘rainbowing’. The islands will have luxury hotels, high-end villas, spas, shopping malls, sports complexes, theme parks and much more. It cost an estimated $12bn to build.
5. Burj Khalifa, Dubai, U.A.E.
Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building and also the tallest free-standing structure in the world. It has become one of the best known skyscrapers in the world. It has a height of 828 meters. The construction began in 2004, and it was completed in 2010. It has 160 stories and visitors can take a view from top on the 125 and 148 level. The engineers faced many challenges like the high temperature and the high-speed winds. It is estimated to have cost $1.2 billion.
4. Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge, China
This 102.4 mile long bridge holds the Guinness World Record for the longest bridge in the world in any category. It is quite mind-boggling to imagine a bridge that is more than 100 miles long. The bridge is located in the Yangtze River Delta, and is a part of the rail line between Shanghai and Nanjing on the Beijing–Shanghai High-Speed Railway. Employing 10,000 people and costing about $8.5 billion, the construction took four years and it was opened in 2011.
3. Millau Viaduct, Millau, France
Its claim to fame is that it is the world’s tallest road bridge! Imagine that its tallest towers are 1,125 feet tall, which is more than the height of Eiffel Tower and reach almost the height of Empire State Building. Spanning across the valley of the River Tarn near Millau in southern France, it was constructed on the route from Paris to Barcelona, to speed-up traffic during the summer vacation months. It presents a most spectacular sight and on cloudy days it touches the clouds.
Designed by the British designer Norman Foster and developed by French engineer Michel Virlogeux, this bridge used a new technique of construction, due to its height of 900 feet. Instead of the bridge being made into sections and lifted in position by crane, here the engineers constructed both ends of the bridge and then extended the construction from both sides. The project construction cost was €394 million, and it was completed in just 3 years and opened on December 2004.
2. Jeddah Tower, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Also called Kingdom Tower and Mile-High Tower, the soon to be completed Jeddah Tower will be the tallest building in the world taking the title from Burj Khalifa. Both are designed by the same American architect Adrian Smith. It was earlier designed to reach 1 mile (1.6 km) high. Later it was found that the geological constraints would not make such a high skyscraper stable. Do the height was reduced to 1 km. Still it will be about 180 meter higher than the current tallest building Burj Khalifa. It will also have more than 200 floors. It is built by the Saudi Arabian Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, the wealthiest man in the Middle East and nephew of the Kings of Saudi Arabia.
It has already reached more than half its height and will be completed in 2019. When completed, it will become the first man-made structure to reach the one-kilometer-high mark. Its estimated cost is $1.23 billion.
1. Three Gorges Dam, Hubei, China
This is the world’s tallest dam with a height of 185 meters, largest concrete structure housing the world’s largest hydroelectric power station. It is located on the Yangtze River and it is one of China’s biggest construction projects since the Great Wall. Its name comes from the three rivers, the Qutang, Wu Xia, and Xiling. It is so gigantic that its width itself is one and a half miles and almost 400 miles long. It generates 22,500 MW or 4.7 billion kWh each year of electricity equivalent to 18 nuclear power plants.
Its construction began in 1994 and was commissioned in 2008. Its estimated cost is $22.5 billion. It has attracted lots of controversy due to its ecological impacts, submerging ancient archaeological sites and displacement of more than one million Chinese populations. Despite the severe criticism for its adverse environmental effects, in sheer size it has no equals.
There are several more such engineering marvels in the world. But a few have been omitted as many are not easily accessible to the general public, for example the Large Hadron Collider which lies 200 meter underground in a tunnel of 27 km circumference in Geneva, Switzerland. Silarly several websites also list the North European Gas Pipeline between Russia and Germany; the Chandra X-Ray Observatory in Space and many others. The criteria for choosing these is their sheer appearance and spectacular look which makes your jaw drop in amazement. In case, you feel some more such engineering marvel could have been added, then you are welcome to write in the comment box.
Compiled and written by : Raj Kumar Hansdah