The Ten Most Expensive Civil Engineering Projects of All Time

Civil Engineering

Many civil engineering projects are built on a grand scale. Massive resources are utilized to achieve lofty economic goals. Once they are finished, the structures can serve millions of people in various capacities. In the infographic below, explore the 10 of the most expensive civil engineering projects of all time.

expensive engineering projects infographic image

Text: 10 Most Expensive Civil Engineering Projects

Counting Down the 10 Most Expensive Civil Engineering Projects

#10 — The Hong Kong International Airport HKIA is hailed as one of the best airports in the world. It was built on an artificial island with an eight-story terminal designed by Norman Foster. It was opened back in June of 1998 and remains an impressive structure nearly twenty years after. The HKIA is able to handle 68.5 million passengers and 4.38 million tons of cargo a year. More than a thousand flights go through here every day. Its 2016 inflated cost is $25.2 billion.

#9 — The Kansai International Airport Japan’s KIA was constructed on a man-made island in Osaka Bay. It takes care of 145,000 flights every year. The Sky Gate Bridge was built to connect the island with the mainland of Osaka. A 40-foot seawall was built to protect the island from waves. If the cost was adjusted to 2016 levels, then it would rise up to $31.9 billion.

#8 — The Al Maktoum International Airport Dubai is known for its extravagant construction projects. This one is certainly among its most ambitious. The first phase has already been completed and the second phase is now underway. This airport expansion is aimed at increasing capacity to 220 million passengers per year. It will be able to handle up to 100 A380 superjumbo jets at a time. Its cost in 2014 is $34 billion.

#7 — The Songod International Business District This is currently under construction in Seoul, South Korea. The smart city is being built on reclaimed land that covers 1,500 acres. It includes commercial, retail, and residential space. The aim is to use smart technologies and improve sustainability. There will be more than 20,000 residential units in the district. Some are already occupied while others are still being erected. The cost in 2015 was $35 billion.

#6 — The Beijing High-speed Railway China’s capital has experienced a great economic boom over the past decades. Various infrastructure projects were required to sustain this and this railway was one of the government’s biggest showcases. It spans 819 miles to connect the Bohai Economic Rim to the Yangtze River Delta. In order to ensure the safety of the passengers, the route is constantly monitored by 321 seismic, 50 rainfall, and 167 wind speed sensors. It required 22 tunnels and 244 bridges with standardized designs. The top speed is 186 mph. The inflated cost in 2016 is $35.2 billion.

#5 — The California High-speed Rail The US is set to have its own advanced high-speed railway. This is meant to connect 24 cities across 800 miles starting from Sacramento down to San Diego. This should ease traffic congestion, significantly cut travel time, and spur economic activity in the state. It’s definitely one of the most ambitious projects in the country. This is already under construction with an estimated cost of $64.2 billion.

#4 — The King Abdullah Economic City Saudi Arabia is building its own mega city. The oil-rich nation is aiming high and doing something that has never been done on this scale. Upon completion, the new metropolis will have its own port, sea resort, industrial valley, residential areas, central business district, and educational zone. The target is to finish everything by 2020. Its estimated cost in 2015 is $100 billion.

#3 — The Kashagan Field This is an offshore oil field located in the Kazakhstan region of the Caspian Sea that was discovered in 2000. The structure is expected to tap the rich deposits underneath and get as much as 13 billion barrels of crude oil. This should provide a massive economic boost to the country. The oil field is still under construction with an estimated cost of $116 billion in 2015.

#2 — The International Space Station The ISS is a joint project by some of the most industrialized countries in the world including the US, Canada, Japan, Russia, and European nations. The program began in 1993 and continues until today. This vessel is suitable for long-term habitation and hosts a good number of scientists who conduct experiments and other research projects. The ISS is an enormous structure that weighs 197 tons. It total cost in 2013 was $118.3 billion.

#1 — The US Interstate Highway System Topping this list is the long and complex US Interstate Highway System. This is a marvel of engineering that took a great deal of planning. It was started way back in 1953 with the aim of connecting the entire country and improving accessibility. It continued to expand for decades and now includes 46,876 miles of roads. The total 2016 inflated cost is $224.2 billion.

Civil Engineering Careers Projects like these require civil engineers at the helm. Engineers are in-charge of the design and supervision of the ongoing construction. They make sure that everything is followed with great precision. In order to be included, an individual should preferably have a master’s degree and a professional engineer license. The industry puts a premium on experience. Many of those working on the biggest projects have over 20 years under their belts. Annual compensation is excellent with the median pay in 2014 being $82,050. The best places to work as a civil engineer include Alaska, Texas, California, District of Columbia, and Rhode Island.

Job Market: Current and Future In 2014, there were 281,400 civil engineers employed across the country. It is projected that there will be 23,600 more jobs available by 2024. The biggest employers are companies engaged in engineering services. The state, local, and federal governments can also be relied on because of public infrastructure projects. Some are employed in non-residential construction activities. If we rank the states according to the number of civil engineers, then California comes out on top with over 38,000. It is followed by Texas, New York, Florida and Pennsylvania.

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