5 Top engineering marvels of the world
Weekend Plus Desk :
The greatest man-made structures
an has made numerous advancements, and one of his greatest achievements is the spellbinding structures crafted in juxtaposition to nature. All across the world, there are beautiful structures that have made us stand up and take note. Here are five such enchanting man-made structures.
1) Millau Viaduct
The 8km long Millau Viaduct, was constructed to decongest traffic on the route from Paris to Barcelona during the summer vacation months. The bridge's highest tower soars to 1125ft, making it the tallest cable-stayed road bridge in the world. Interestingly, the Millau Viaductâ€™s tallest towers surpass the Eiffel Tower (986ft) and are almost as tall as the Empire State Building (1250ft). Typically a cable-stayed road bridge is built in sections and then lifted and put into position with cranes. Since the bridge was close to 900ft high, a new technique had to be used. After building the towers, engineers constructed the roadway on either side of the towers and then rolled the two sides into the center. The new technique carried several engineering risks but proved to be efficient in constructing the roadway.
2) The Channel Tunnel
Also popularly known as the Chunnel, is a 50km underwater rail tunnel that links Folkstone, England and Coquelles, France beneath the English Channel. This is among the easiest modern engineering marvels to bag during your travels - you can take a bus, car or train right through it. Looks like an ordinary tunnel, but is still worth skipping the flight to experience it. Completed almost 200 years after it was first proposed by Albert Mathieu in 1802, the tunnel goes 250ft under the sea bed.
3) The Bailong Elevator
Built off the side of an enormous cliff in the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in China, The Bailong Elevator is the highest and heaviest outdoor elevator in the world. It is 1070ft high and consists of three double-story glass elevators. Also known as the Hundred Dragons Elevator, it takes two minutes to ride from the base to the top, can carry 50 people in one trip with a total of 18000 people daily. It has been operational from 2002.
4) Palm Islands, Dubai
This is the largest project on this list. The worldâ€™s largest set of man-made islands; these are located off the coast of the UAE in the Persian Gulf near Dubai. Two of the islands, the Palm Jumeirah and the Palm Jebel Ali, have been completed while the third and largest of the islands, Palm Deira, is still under construction. Each island is in the shape of a palm tree with a crescent-shaped rock encircling the top of each island, giving it the name.
The project has added 320 miles of beaches to the shoreline of Dubai. The islands will include hundreds of luxury hotels, high-end homes, theme parks, health spas and much more. Construction started in 2001, and involved mainly filling the seabed with sand.
5) Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge
Stretching more than 55km (34 miles), the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is an unparalleled engineering feat. It is the worldâ€™s longest sea bridge and tunnel linking Hong Kong to mainland China via Macau and spans the Pearl River Delta. From end to end, including its two link roads, the bridge is about 20 times the length of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.
The structure is designed to withstand earthquakes, the seasonal typhoons which occasionally create havoc in the area and accidental ship strikes. To allow ships to continue passing through the estuary, the bridge midway plunges underwater via two artificial islands for 6.7km. It also cuts the travel time from over four hours to a mere 30 minutes. n