5 Spectacular Engineering and Construction Projects

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Something just about everyone on the planet has in common is a sense of awe when confronted by a spectacular feat of construction and engineering. Here in New York City we experience our fair share of tourists stopping in the middle of the sidewalk to gawk at the big skyscrapers and bridges, and while we might outwardly roll our eyes to prove we are unimpressionable New Yorkers, what we’re really thinking is ‘yup, those buildings are pretty amazing.’ It doesn’t have to be big buildings or massive bridges that warrant our amazement – there are countless examples when construction and engineering produced something so great, the whole world took notice. Below are 5 such examples that will continue to inspire for years to come.

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1. International Space Station

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The International Space Station (ISS) was launched in 1998 and continues to be the largest artificial body in orbit. If you’re lucky, you might even spot it from earth. It was created to become a laboratory, factory and observation spot, and is shared by many nations, although primarily operated by the USA and Russia. Construction meant some very technical maneuvering to deliver modules that docked robotically, and parts delivered into space with the shuttle crew members who had to put it together. Construction did not all occur at once, with several units being added over the years since the 1998 launch. The ‘space architects’ of the ISS also had to accommodate for how to handle atmosphere control, water, food and sanitation, along with safety systems like fire control.

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2. Three gorges dam

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The 3 Gorges Dam, located in China, is the world’s largest power station and was completed in 2012. The hydroelectric Dam is made of concrete and steel, is 1.4 miles long and is 5 times taller than the Hoover Dam. Developed to reduce flooding and allow for increased shipping capacity, the Dam was controversial due to the fact that its construction displaced over a million people and flooded areas of cultural significance. The Chinese government argues that the Dam will save more than 15 million people if severe flooding occurs as it did many times throughout the 20th century.

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3. Dubai Canal and Waterfront

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Thought to be in final development phases, it’s been reported that work for the Dubai Canal has broken ground and could be done by 2017. The projected 47 mile canal will add to the existing Dubai Waterfront, making it the world’s largest manmade waterfront. The project was put on hold after the 2008 world financial crisis, and has altered in scope somewhat, but it is still expected to one of the world’s most extensive waterway projects.

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4. new york city subway

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Because we live in NYC, we have a love-hate relationship with the subway. We love that it can take you anywhere in New York 24/7. We hate…well, we’ll leave that alone for now since we’re writing to celebrate this construction and engineering behemoth. Connecting Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, the NYC Subway is one of the largest mass transit systems in the world, with 468 stations. It’s also one of the oldest, opening its first line in 1904.

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5. Panama Canal

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There’s hardly a person in the world who didn’t learn about the Panama Canal in school. This 48 mile manmade canal connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, allowing for faster shipping routes. Already an incredible example of engineering, the Panama Canal is now being upgraded at a cost of $5.25 billion to be able to accommodate larger cargo ships by adding a third, wider lane of locks.

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