Innovations in structural engineering have led to unbelievable buildings, highways, canals, and even islands throughout time. With the constant need for bettering means of transportation, housing, and construction, it’s no wonder this field has developed countless breakthroughs. Below are just a few of many of the world’s greatest accomplishments in structure, varying in use.
Palm Islands, Dubai
Just off the coast of the United Arab Emirates lies three incredible man-made islands which form a palm tree surrounded by a crescent. Built with 5.5 million cubic meters of rock and 94 million cubic meters of sand, this tourist destination ordered by the Prince of Dubai is home to residential properties, beaches, and many other forms of entertainment. Construction began in June of 2001, and the Palm Islands have since become one of the many marvels the world has to offer.
Rising 221 meters above the Colorado River, this dam has created the largest man-made lake in the Western Hemisphere, known as Lake Mead. At its strongest points, the Hoover Dam is 210 meters thick with concrete. Since it is a “gravity dam,” its foundations rely entirely on gravity to keep it from collapsing.
International Space Station
With a final bill of $100 million in its construction, The International Space Station required the work of 100,000 people from 15 different countries, and demands maintenance year round. After its first component was launched in 1998, additions to the ISS have now made it visible from Earth with the naked eye. Being located 220 miles above the earth’s surface however, makes this structure particularly difficult to build and repair.
White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, Canada
Providing one of the most scenic routes available through Canada’s coastal mountains, this railroad was built during the Klondike Gold Rush in the 1890’s, and was completed in just over two years. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of this structural feat is the continued use of vintage cars, with the oldest dating back to 1881.
Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, Japan
Built over the course of 10 years, this 1,991-meter-long structure is the longest suspension bridge in the world, connecting the city of Kobe with Awaji Island. It took the efforts of 2 million workers to complete the bridge beginning in 1988, and cost 500 billion Yen. Before its construction, the only means of transportation between Kobe and Awaji Island was by ferry through the Akashi Strait, which was prone to severe weather. After the sinking of two ferries in 1955 from such weather, killing 168 people, public outrage was met with the blueprints for this monstrous bridge. Finally completed in 1998, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is now used by approximately 23,000 cars per day.