10 wonders of world engineering – HISTORY

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For thousands of years, humanity has designed remarkable structures such as the Pyramids of Egypt and the Great Wall of China. More recently, visionary engineers have undertaken huge transportation and communications projects that have pushed the boundaries of human ingenuity. Here’s a roundup of 10 engineering wonders that changed the history of the world.

1. Panama Canal

An excavator vehicle operates during the construction of the Panama Canal, c. 1906.

Connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the 51-mile Panama Canal transformed global trade routes when it opened in 1914. After an unsuccessful attempt by the French in the 1880s, the United States resumed construction in 1904. L Chief Engineer John Stevens changed the project design from a sea-level canal to one requiring a series of locks and the dam of the Chagres River to create the largest man-made lake in the world at the time . Workers battled landslides and tropical diseases such as malaria and yellow fever as they dug the canal through jungles and mountainous terrain, moving enough soil and rubble, according to the Canal Museum. of Panama, to bury Manhattan Island at a depth of 12 feet. Ten percent of the 56,000 workers who worked hard on the project between 1904 and 1913 died. Perhaps the most remarkable feat? The international shipping channel was completed on time and on budget.

READ MORE: 7 Fascinating Facts About the Panama Canal

2. Golden Gate Bridge

Workers on the Cables Bundling Cables during the Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge Cables in San Francisco, California, ca.  1936.

Workers on the Cables Bundling Cables during the Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge Cables in San Francisco, California, ca. 1936.

The longest suspension bridge in the world for 27 years after it opened in 1937, the 1.7-mile Golden Gate Bridge rises over the strait nearly 400 feet deep connecting San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Containing enough cables to circle the globe three times, the bridge can move more than two feet sideways to withstand the strong strait winds. Chief engineer Joseph Strauss prioritized safety over the treacherous project, and only 11 workers (10 in a single accident) died during construction. (In contrast, 28 workers perished during the construction of the nearby San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which opened six months earlier.) An innovative safety net suspended under the bridge deck saved the lives of 19 workers.

READ MORE: 8 surprising facts about the Golden Gate Bridge

3. Interstate road network

Aerial photo of San Francisco, c.  July 1959, showing the Highway 101 and Interstate 280 interchange still under construction.

Aerial photo of San Francisco, c. July 1959, showing the Highway 101 and Interstate 280 interchange still under construction.

After seeing Nazi Germany use its high-speed highway system to efficiently move troops across the country during World War II, President Dwight D. Eisenhower spearheaded the passage of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, which authorized the largest public works project in world history. . The construction of 41,000 miles of freeways with controlled ramp access and no grade-level intersections, just overpasses and underpasses, was intended in part to bolster national defense and allow for faster evacuations from towns in the event atomic attack from the Cold War. Named after Eisenhower in 1990, the Interstate Highway System radically transformed the American economy and way of life by stimulating the growth of suburbs while decimating some urban neighborhoods.

READ MORE: The epic road trip that inspired the interstate highway system

4. Transatlantic cable

The laying of the transatlantic telegraph cable, c.  1866. The launching of the buoy marked the spot where the cable had been gripped.

The laying of the transatlantic telegraph cable, c. 1866. The launching of the buoy marked the spot where the cable had been gripped.

In 1854, the American merchant Cyrus West Field obtained a charter to lay a telegraph cable on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. After four unsuccessful attempts, American and British warships succeeded in laying a nearly 2,000 mile cable between Ireland and Newfoundland in the summer of 1858. Queen Victoria’s inaugural 98-word message to President James Buchanan took 16 hours to transmit. Not fast, but faster than the 10-day transatlantic ocean liners. The communication link, however, ceased to function after only a few weeks. Field persisted, however, and contracted the British ship Great East, the largest ship afloat at the time, to lay a permanent telegraph cable in 1866 which greatly accelerated transatlantic communication.

WATCH: “The Engineering That Built the World” premieres Sunday October 10 at 9 / 8c. Watch a preview now.

5. Hoover Dam

View inside one of the concrete tunnels at the 50-foot-high Hoover Dam.  This photo shows the grouting process in operation in Diversion Tunnel # 4, through which the Colorado River will be diverted.

View inside one of the 50 feet high Hoover Dam concrete tunnels. This photo shows the grouting process in operation in Diversion Tunnel # 4, through which the Colorado River will be diverted.

Built by an army of more than 21,000 workers, the 60-story Hoover Dam was the largest concrete structure and tallest dam in the world when it was inaugurated in 1935. The project, which required the diversion of the river Colorado through four excavated tunnels, completed two years ahead of schedule. The gravity dam on the Arizona-Nevada border controls the flow of the Colorado River, stores enough water to irrigate 2 million acres, and supplies more than a million homes with hydroelectricity. The Hoover Dam propelled the development of cities such as Las Vegas and Phoenix and created Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States in terms of water capacity.

READ MORE: 7 Things You May Not Know About The Hoover Dam

6. Channel Tunnel

Opened in 1994 after six years of construction, the Channel Tunnel linked Britain to mainland Europe for the first time since the Ice Age. Known as the “Chunnel”, it consists of three concrete tubes built by 1,100 ton tunnel boring machines. The 31-mile tunnel system that carries passengers, cargo and vehicles includes a 23-mile submarine stretch, the longest in the world, with an average depth of 150 feet below the seabed. The tunnel allowed passengers on Eurostar high-speed trains to travel from London to Paris in just over two hours.

7. Transcontinental railway

Construction of the transcontinental railway

View of the construction of the Union Pacific section of the Transcontinental Railroad across the Devil’s Gate Bridge, Utah, 1869.

As the Civil War raged in the East, work began in the West to build a railroad that would link the United States from coast to coast. Authorized by the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862, the Central Pacific Railroad Company laid eastbound tracks from Sacramento, Calif., While the Union Pacific Railroad Company moved westward from Omaha, California. Nebraska. As all the workers worked through harsh winters and scorching summers, China’s largely immigrant workforce from the central Pacific faced the particularly arduous task of tunneling through the Sierra Nevada mountains. When completed with the sinking of a golden point into the ground in 1869, the transcontinental railroad facilitated the country’s westward expansion by reducing journey times from several months to less than a week.

READ MORE: Building the Transcontinental Railroad: How 20,000 Chinese Immigrants Got There

8. Statue of Liberty

Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, creator of the Statue of Liberty, explains the interior construction of the hand section of the statue to a visitor, c.  1872.

Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, creator of the Statue of Liberty, explains the interior construction of the hand section of the statue to a visitor, c. 1872.

Symbol of the friendship between France and the United States, the 151-foot-high Statue of Liberty was consecrated in 1886. In Paris, French sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi fashioned large sheets of copper to create the skin of the statue, which was packed in over 200 cases and shipped to New York. For four months, the workers reconstructed the statue, mounted it on a plinth and fixed it on an iron and steel skeleton designed by Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, designer of the Eiffel Tower, which allowed the skin to move independently during strong gusts of wind.

WATCH: How the Statue of Liberty crossed the Atlantic

9. Works to protect the North Sea in the Netherlands

With parts of the country lying below sea level, the Netherlands built a system of gates, storm barriers and dams to prevent flooding and claim large tracts of land from the Zuiderzee, a shallow entrance from the North Sea. Named by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, the project began in 1927 with the construction over five years of a 30 km long sea wall that enclosed the Zuiderzee. Decades of land reclamation projects followed. Between 1954 and 1997, another large project was undertaken to control water flows at the mouths of the Rhine and the Meuse.

10. New York and Boston subways

Construction workers in a New York subway tunnel,.

Construction workers in a New York subway tunnel,.

With horse drawn carriages obstructing the streets of New York and Boston and elevated trains raining soot on pedestrians, city leaders have sought a faster, cleaner transportation alternative. They turned to a drastic solution: subway travel, which many Americans considered impractical and dangerous. Boston opened the first American subway in 1897. New York followed seven years later. Both cities used a covered trench construction method to minimize disruption to city life. With the world’s first underground in London still using steam locomotives, American systems differed by using electric trains. The advent of rapid transit redefined Boston, New York, and American cities to follow.


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