From wheels to electric cars, we’ve had one long journey, and who knows what’s the next big thing that lies ahead of us. We are becoming so insanely advanced that we never even get to appreciate or even acknowledge it. It is unnoticeable to most of us, but that doesn’t make the progress any slower, and that’s pretty evident from the infrastructural development we’ve seen so far in the entire world. Let’s dive deeper into the infrastructural world and see the 12 engineering marvels that are truly genius
1. Veluwemeer Aqueduct
The Veluwemeer Aqueduct at Harderwijk, Netherlands has been built in an extremely unbelievable manner. It allows water to pass over the road, unlike normal aqueduct bridges that pass over the water body.
The Veluwemeer Aqueduct is a 10-foot deep canal that is extraordinarily built because it lets boats pass over the highway. Located on Lake Veluwemeer, the canal is connected to the Dutch highway N302 and the Flevoland, the largest artificial island in the world.
The aqueduct uses 22,000 cubic meters of concrete to hold the water above the road under it. On average, the two-lane road allows 28,000 cars through it per day meanwhile letting the boats pass from the above narrow water aqueduct during any time of the day.
The construction of the narrow aqueduct was built because building a tunnel, ferry, or bridge was an expensive and impractical task. Therefore, the engineers came up with a creative and unique idea which also proved to be budget-friendly. The total funding required for the aqueduct was $61 million.
2. Falkirk Wheel
The Falkirk Wheel in Scotland is the only one of its kind in the entire world. It is a rotating boat lift that connects the two canals, namely, the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Union Canal. The wheel raises the boats 24 meters to transport them from one canal to another.
The two canals were first connected via a flight of 11 locks. The flight was deconstructed in 1933 because it was inefficient since it took an entire day to transport from one canal to another. The canals remained disconnected until 2002 when the wheel was finished and opened finally as a part of the Millennium Link project.
The rotating body is located in the town of Falkirk, and so they gave it the name of “Falkirk Wheel.”
The giant wheel is 35 meters tall in which is equivalent to eight double-decker buses stacked on top of each other, and it holds 500,000 liters of water. The energy that one rotation requires is also relatively low, being only around 1.5 kWh of energy per rotation.
3. Draugen Oil Field
The Draugen Oil Field located in the Norwegian Sea is a complex and fascinating structure with an underwater depth of 250 meters. The site was discovered in 1984, and the oil production started in 1993.
The plan for production and development on the site was approved four years after the discovery of oil. The lower part of the platform is constructed with concrete as the material with a highly integrated topside.
The oil field produces oil from two major formations and stores the oil in tanks in the basement of the platform. The stored oil is later exported via tankers in which the oil is unloaded with the help of a floating loading buoy.
The majority of the reservoir is built up of Rogn formation, which is just a marine sand bar from the Late Jurassic Period.
The current production status of the oil field is not at its best because a steep decline has been observed in oil production. The related gas, which is required for power generation, is also not available. Although, alternative methods of solving the problems are being explored to continue and maintain the production for a lifetime. (1, 2)
4. Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a significant, artificial waterway that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean through the narrow Isthmus of Panama. It is an important and strategic route because it is used as a shortcut by ships to travel between the two oceans avoiding the otherwise long and dangerous routes around the southern tip of South America.
1The maritime trade has become easier because of the 83-kilometer-long Panama Canal to a great extent since it cuts through the narrow land of the Isthmus of Panama providing a passage for the ships to slip from one ocean to another.
Before the canal was built in 1914, the ships needed to take the Cape Horn route which required travel all the way around the southernmost tip of South America. The canal saves 15,000 kilometers of unnecessary distance, and the other route is not only lengthy but also life-threatening.
The canal helps the ships to move from one ocean to another by using a system of locks. A ship goes through a lot of stages in the Panama Canal starting with the Gatun Lake nearest to the Atlantic side of the canal.
Here at Gatun Lake, three ships are lifted to a height of 85 feet above sea level, the ships go through the Culebra Cut leading them to Miraflores Lake by lowering them by 30 feet. After traveling for about two kilometers in the lake, the ships are lowered back to sea level in the Pacific Ocean by the locks at the end.
The construction of the canal was completed in August 1914 by the US. Therefore, the US was the sole authority of the canal until 1979 when it was passed on to the Panama Canal Commission and later in 1999 to Panama. (1, 2, 3)
5. Channel Tunnel
The Channel Tunnel has the longest underwater section of any tunnel in the world. It is a railway tunnel that connects the UK and France and runs beneath the English Channel.
The 50-kilometer-long tunnel is also sometimes known as the “Eurotunnel.” There are three major sections inside the tunnel, of which two are occupied by the railways and the middle one for the services and security.
It has shortened the trip from one country to the other to just 35 minutes as the maximum speed the railway travels is 160 kilometers per hour. The railways are used by passengers and freight as well. It connects Folkestone on the UK side and Sangatte on the French side.
The digging work for the long tunnel began in 1987 and was completed in four years, but it took another four years to officially open. So, the tunnel officially came to use on 6 May 1994.
The total funds used for the construction was calculated as £9 billion which is way above the predicted amount of £5.5 billion. However, the tunnel stands as the third-longest railway tunnel in the world.
The tunnel has also been used by the people to illegally migrate to the UK, causing political problems of illegal immigration, violation of human rights, and sometimes even violence. Both governments are taking security measures to prevent migrants from crossing the borders.
6. Beijing National Stadium or the “Bird’s Nest”
The incredible building of Beijing National Stadium is also called the “Bird’s Nest” and rightly so. It actually looks the way it is described. The stadium hosted the 2008 Olympic Games and will repeat the same in the Winter of 2022.
The marvelous building took three years and $428 million for the complete construction. It is located at the south of the centerpiece Olympic Green and has a capacity of 91,000 people, but it was brought down to 80,000 after the Olympics in 2008. The chief architect behind the project was Li Xinggang with various other firms working together.
The very pattern of the stadium was inspired by the Chinese crazed pottery. The pattern was originally supposed to be represented as heaven, but it popularly turned out to be a bird’s nest.
The stadium officially opened on 28 June 2008 with the anticipation of becoming a national monument of New China. Media representations and an awful amount of tourists were expected after the opening. The expectations were not really met, but the stadium still turned out to generate massive profitable revenue.
The Birds Nest was used for the Summer Olympics of 2008 and is already scheduled for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Besides sports, it has given many artists opportunities to hold concerts, and Jackie Chan was the first to do so in 2009. (1, 2)