Last edited 13 Oct 2020

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Top 10 most expensive construction projects in the world


[edit] Introduction

The amount spent creating some of the most iconic structures in the world is eye-watering. Here is a run-down of the 10 most expensive construction projects.

[edit] 10. The Channel Tunnel


Coming in at $22.4 billion, the Channel Tunnel stretches 31.4 miles connecting Britain with France. Buried beneath the English Channel, it is the favourite means of people to cross the watery divide between the UK and mainland Europe.

But, the cost was 80% more than that estimated due to escalating safety demands, security and environmental measures. The project started in 1988 and began operation in 1994.

[edit] 9. The Big Dig

The Big Dig in Boston cost a little over $23 billion with the planning of the rerouting of major highways started in 1982.

The whole project was concluded on the last day of 2007, ten years behind schedule and costing millions of dollars more than expected. As well as cost overruns, there were delays, leaks, design flaws as well as alleged substandard material as well as a few arrests and a tragic death.

[edit] 8. Apollo Space Programme

In at number 8 is the space programme Apollo at $25.4 billion. It is an amazing feat of human endurance and technology and includes the 1969 moon landing. It took tremendous effort but once the moon was landed on, interest gradually dwindled and the programme was deemed too expensive to continue.

[edit] 7. Kansai International Airport

Coming in at $29 billion, Kansai International Airport is in Japan’s second largest city, Osaka.

Planning started back in the 1960s and is certainly a feat of engineering. It balances on a man-made island in the water, making it hopefully immune to earthquakes and other ‘freak accidents’.

Much of the budget was spent on metal support columns and other support pieces. A second terminal was added in 2012, connected to the original terminal via a free shuttle service.

[edit] 6. California High-Speed Rail

Work started in 2015 and is tipped to reach $98.5 billion, way over its original budget. The high-speed bullet train is expected to reach speeds of 220mph connecting major US cities from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

[edit] 5. Dubailand

Announced in 2003, the project is expected to cost in excess of $76 billion. It is an ambitious leisure development and although not complete, is one of the most expensive projects ever undertaken.

Dubai decided it needed an attraction geared toward families and this is the solution. It is expected to be opened before 2020.

[edit] 4. King Abdullah Economic City

Staying in the middle east, this city being built in Saudi Arabia is expected to come in at $95 billion. It will be slightly bigger than Washington D.C and be home to 2 million people.

An hour from Mecca, it is set to become a major tourist attraction for Saudi Arabia with villas, a massive airport as well as universities, and so on.

[edit] 3. Kashagan Field


At $116 billion, the largest oil discovery in the Caspian Sea has seen the continuous development of the Kashagan Fields.

As well as man-made islands, there have been many difficulties in the construction including leaks and problems drilling into fields of oil under high pressure. Operations are expected to start in 2017/18, with 13 billion barrels of oil expected over its lifetime.

[edit] 2. International Space Station

The ISS orbits the earth and fires our imagination about space. With costs at around £150 billion, the information gathered by astronauts is providing invaluable data. It is a collaborative project with the UK and Russia heavily involved in the NASA led project. But in 2020, the space station will crash into the ocean, the project over.

[edit] 1. Interstate Highway System

At $459 billion, this American project connecting more than 47,000 miles of highway is still the most expensive construction project to date.

Taking 35 years to complete, work began in 1955 under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was seen as critical to national defence, providing more routes for access and egress under war conditions.

Which projects do you think will surpass these listed in the current top 10 most expensive construction projects?

--MTX Contracts

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