While many construction companies have worked on fairly large projects, few have taken on the challenge of one of these so-called “megaprojects.” These projects are huge in scope and budget, with over a billion dollars going into each one.
Megaprojects take place around the world, and some of them are quite impressive. However, they all start with basic materials such as steel, wood, and concrete wall forms. Here are the top five most expensive megaprojects as of October 2019.
5. Malaysia’s Exchange 106
Coming in number five on this list with a budget of “only” $10 billion is The Exchange 106, a large tower in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It dominates the city’s financial district, towering over other buildings at 1,461 feet tall.
In addition to ranking as one of the most expensive projects and as one of the world’s tallest buildings, The Exchange 106 became well-known around the world due to its embezzling scandal. Four and a half billion dollars was shunted from the budget into private accounts, including those of the former prime minister.
Construction started in May 2016, and while the building is done, interior work on the upper floors is still ongoing.
4. London’s Heathrow
Heathrow Airport is London’s major international airport, and billions of people travel through it annually. To accommodate the increased traffic, the airport is adding a third runway. The project was announced in 2018 and has an expected completion date of 2026.
This runway, which comes with a price tag of $18.5 billion, is part of the airport’s huge expansion and renovation that will continue over the next 30 years. Creating this new runway, plus the terminals and other additions, will require uprooting roads and houses, making it a huge undertaking.
3. UAE’s Al Maktoum Airport
The third most expensive megaproject on the list is another airport, this one being in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Al Maktoum Airport is expanding, and when all is said and done, it will be the world’s largest airport.
Like Heathrow, these additions are planned over the next 30 years, so the massive complex won’t be completed until 2050. The overall cost is $32.7 billion. Four new runways and more terminals, totaling over 1.5 million square feet, will be added.
2. Japan’s Chuo Shinkansen
The Chu Shinkansen in Japan is a type of magnetic levitation train system being constructed by the Central Japan Railway Company. This magnetic train will cut the time it takes to travel from Tokyo to Nagoya in half, making it faster than the country’s well-known bullet trains.
This project actually began on paper in 1990, but construction didn’t start until 2015. The first part of the project will construct the maglev lines from Nagoya to Shinagawa and is set to be finished in 2027. In total, the project will cost $52 billion dollars.
1. China’s South-North Water Transfer Project
Finally, the current titleholder of the most expensive megaproject in the world is China’s South-North Water Transfer Project. With a budget of $62 billion, this massive project will help irrigate the dry northern areas of China by diverting water from the wetter southern lands.
The project has been underway in one form or another since its inception in 1952, and it’s expected to take until 2050 to finish. When it is, the four major rivers of China will be connected, and the country will be crisscrossed with water diversion channels.
It’s anticipated that upwards of 12 trillion gallons of water will be moved north every year. It’s a massive project with a ginormous budget, but the finished product will transform China undoubtedly.
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