Time after time, it is a proven fact that humans have the uncanny ability to outdo other fellow human beings with their sharp creative thinking and imagination. When it comes to wonders in general, we are usually wonder-struck or in awe when we visit these engineering marvels. Here, we have assembled a list of top 10 fascinating engineering marvels of the world.
In The Article
Millay Viaduct Bridge – (France and Spain)
Standing at a height of 343m from the ground level, this massive distinct man made bridge was designed by the world’s best design expert, Norman Foster, the British design genius. This bridge is way taller than France’s steel marvel “Eiffel Tower” and now this man made wonder holds the record for the tallest bridge not only in Europe but in the world.
Opened for public use in the year 2004, this bridge was completed in a record time of three years or so within a budget of 276 million sterling pounds.
This unique four-lane structure is more than 1.5 miles in length and acts as a road link between Spanish border and the modern city of France, Paris.
Funded and constructed by Eiffage, it is pretty interesting to note that this bridge opened a month in advance ahead of planned schedule.
French President, Chirac who dedicated the bridge to the people of both France and Spain, remarked that “This Bridge is a miracle of equilibrium and a marvel of architecture and art”.
Bailong Elevator (China, Zhangjiajie)
Constructed off a rocky cliff in the Zhangjiajie province, Wulingyuan area this elevator is more than 320 m high from the ground level.
It mainly hosts 3 double deck glass elevators. In less than 2 minutes, a passenger can reach the top and the total capacity is around 18,000 humans per day.
Began in the year 1999, this epic elevator structure was thrown open to the public in the year 2002 with one trip passenger capacity at 50 per day.
Large Hadron Collider (Switzerland-Geneva)
Located in a tunnel measuring 0.108 miles in length, and overall circumference crossing 27.3 Km, this is the world’s highest and largest particle collider, the world’s largest single machine, and the most intriguing experimental facility.
Built by CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), this massive engineering structure is placed at a depth of 175 meters near Geneva, beneath Switzerland-France border. It took almost 10 years and around 10,000 scientists to get this gigantic structure ready.
Costing more than US$ 9 billion , it is made up of around 10,000 magnets that fire minuscule protons at supernatural speeds.
Searching for the elusive Higgs boson, scientists have built the so called largest energy particle accelerator in the world which is also mired in controversy.
Touted as the world’s largest man made artificial island, Palm Islands is a civil engineering marvel by any standards.
They mainly consist of three man made islands namely Palm Jebel Ali, Deira Island and Palm Jumeirah on the sea coast of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
The main construction started in the year 2001 and by 2014, only one island of Palm Jumeirah was totally completed and thrown open to the public.
Palm Jumeirah- Not more than five by five kilometers long, this island of Palm Jumeirah adds more than 75 km to the already existing Dubai coastline.
It is a mega budget engineering project where this island was built from scratch using just rocks and sand and as a matter of fact zero percent steel and concrete was used in the construction of this island.
For record purpose, more than 210 mcm of limestone, sand, and rock were used.Around 94 mcm of sea sand was brought from deep sea excavation.
This project also poses a large scale environmental factor including soil erosion, and Palm Islands located in Dubai is one of the top ten engineering marvels in the world.
Pan –STARRS (Hawaii)
Pan STARRS stands as an acronym for “Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System” which was designed by the astronomical department of the University of Hawaii, in Haleakala Observatory.
This facility contains telescopes, astronomical cameras and one of a kind computational suite. The main area of operation of this telescope is to survey the sky for any type of mobile objects on a continuous basis, also including accurate photometry and astrometry of already found objects.
This telescope is equipped with the world’s largest digital camera, capable of recording more than 1.4 b pixels per picture.
This mega project is a large scale collaboration between Science Applications International Corporation, Maui High-Performance Computing Center, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy.
Touted as the world’s unique telescope project, Pan-STARRS is a mission in progress.
Beijing National Stadium (The Nest)
Home to one of the largest steel structure in the world, Bird’s nest or Beijing National Stadium was a mega size construction project designed by French architects Pierre de Meuron and Jacques Herzog, Li Xinggang, artist Ai Weiwei and Stephan Marbach.
Costing more than US$ 425 m, with more than 15,000 workers involved in the project, and more than 0.1 m tons of steel were used in constructing this mega architectural marvel.
This one of a kind massive stone ancient amphitheater was established in the year 70-72 A.D. and dedicated to the people of Rome as a gift from Vespasian, the Flavian Emperor.
Mainly constructed to host games, including animal and gladiatorial fights. Measuring more than 190 meters by 155 meters, this was regarded as one of the largest ancient amphitheaters.
The architectural design was such that it was built using concrete and stones. The exterior had more than three levels of arched type of entrances, 80 in total ably supported by columns in semi shape.
This amphitheater had a seating capacity of around 50,000 spectators.
Over time, this epic landmark has been severely affected by a mix of vandalism, careless attitude of the government administration, natural calamities and weather conditions.
Still considered by many as an iconic engineering marvel, this Colosseum still attracts tourist from the world over.
Euro Tunnel (France and United Kingdom)
Also known as the “Channel Tunnel”, this underwater sea rail link project started in the year 1998 and was finally completed in the year 1994, connecting Folkestone, Kent, and Pas-de-Calais in the north of France.
The lowest point is around 250 ft well below the normal sea level.With more than 37.9 km, this is considered as the longest undersea part for any tunnel worldwide.
The train connects High Speed 1 and LGV Nord high-speed lines between France and the United Kingdom.
The total budget of the project reached US$ 21 billion with the initial outlay of around 5 billion Euro.
Even though Seikan Tunnel (Japan) is the longest tunnel as on date, experts still feel that Euro Tunnel is one of the best construction design for a railway project in this world.
Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, Japan
Japanese are known to create something spectacular with minimum design and superior execution and this largest cable bridge in the world is no exception.
The highlight feature of this bridge is that it is not by supported by any external pillar like other similar bridges worldwide, Akashi Kaikyo was completed in the year 1998.
With more than 1991 meters of central suspension, this Japanese engineering marvel is a treat to watch.
Mainly connecting Kobe city with Iwaya on the other side (Awaji Island), this 3911 meters long bridge has the enduring capacity to withstand wind speeds more than 175 mph and earthquakes measuring not more than 8.5 on the Richter scale.
1735 odd lights were used to illuminate the bridge, giving it a distinct appeal and glamour.
Three Gorges Dam
A civil engineering wonder per se, this dam is the world’s largest concrete as well as a hydroelectric project. A construction of this scale, it was widely remarked that nobody other than the Chinese can pull this off in style.
The idea of constructing a dam of this scale first germinated in the mind of Chinese President “Sun Yat-Sen” in the year 1919. The project was first conceived as a hydro-electric project to utilize the rich water source of Yangtze River in particular.
Taking into account the gigantic size of Yangtze River, more than 3940 miles in length with a discharging capacity of around 960 bcm in the sea.
This project has the capability to generate electricity equivalent to more than 15 nuclear power stations.
Besides generating electricity, this dam is designed to handle large volumes of sea traffic and also act as a flood rescue reservoir.
With construction starting in the year 1994, the commercial operations of this dam started in the year 2008.
Undoubtedly, a civil engineering marvel of this scale comes at a price, constantly plagued by ecological issues including landslides and floods.