The world is surrounded by many mind-blowing structures which required well thought out engineering decisions. Here we will explore a few general examples of interesting engineering decisions, as well as, focussing on some specific examples.
Please note that the following list is far from exhaustive and is in no particular order.
1. The AMC Connector cable-laying vessel is very interesting
The laying of a submarine cable is not an easy task. The process requires the use of a specialized vessel to transport the submarine cable to the required destination.
Such vessels can transport up to 2,000 km length of cable. Upon reaching its destination, the ship lays the cable out on the seabed as instructed by the cable operator.
It can lay anywhere between 100 - 150 km of cable every day. This particular vessel is called the AMC Connector.
It is the world's largest cable-laying ship. The AMC Connector was used to lay two power cables and a fiber optic cable. The cable was laid along a 100 km route between Dublin and Wales.
2. The Lujiazui Pedestrian Bridge is basically a roundabout for people
Roundabouts do not only clear congested streets but also congested sidewalks. The Lujiazui Pedestrian Bridge sits almost 20 feet above the street level in the Pudong district of Shanghai.
The bridge allows pedestrians to stroll along a circular high line while avoiding the commotion of the daily traffic below. The "flyover" has become a must-see for tourists from all over the world.
It connects financiers to leisure areas surrounded by cafes and shops. The Lujiazui Bridge has several escalator stairway entrances and exits.
3. The Sidu River Bridge is very impressive indeed
China's Sidu River Bridge is a spectacular bridge that connects two mountaintops together. The bridge is located at the border of Yichang and En'shi in the Hubei province. It connects Shanghai, on the pacific coast, to Chongqing and Chengdu on the west.
The bridge is the tallest in the world, hanging approximately 1,600 vertigo-inducing feet above a breathtaking valley. It spans over 5,000 feet across the valley.
The bridge is so long that the builders needed to use a rocket to string the first pilot line across the gap.
Not only is the Sidu River Bridge extremely long, but it is also very safe. The bridge's massive suspension cables are capable of supporting over 43 million tons of weight each.
This is definitely adequate to support any number of vehicles making the journey across the bridge.
4. Copenhagen Airport's "Paper Plane" Terminal is awesome
What better shape for an airport terminal than a paper plane?
Frankly, the design choice is inspired, and can only really be appreciated from the air -- as it should be.
4. Manhattan's largest apartment complex was built to house WW2 veterans
The complex is made up of 56, 12, and 13-story red brick structures. It houses around 27,500 residents in around 11,000 units. A third of the residents are in Peter Cooper Village while the rest are in Stuyvesant Town.
The apartment complex looks like a small town embedded into the larger city. It has its own grocers, a hardware store, a dry cleaner, a wine shop as well as a bunch of restaurants.
Furthermore, it has beautiful playgrounds and basketball courts. The complex also has its own public safety force as well as its own sanitation and snow removal.
5. Brusio Spiral Viaduct in Switzerland will drive you round the bend
The viaduct was built to allow trains to gain elevation in a short distance. It is 110 meters long and has a horizontal radius of curvature of 70meters. The viaduct elevates the train by 20 meters.
The Brusio spiral viaduct forms part of the Bernina Railway section between Brusio and Campascio. It was first opened on 1 July 1980 with the Tirano–Poschiavo section of the Bernina Railway.
6. The reconstruction of The Provo Tabernacle was very challenging
The Provo Tabernacle in Utah was originally constructed in1883. Tragedy struck when a four-alarm fire gutted the temple.
The church leaders decided to save the building and two years later the church plans were approved. The structure was to be rebuilt as a temple.
The new Provo City Temple took43 monthsto be completed. It was a complicated process as two levels of the basement had to be constructed below the remaining structure.
A supporting structure was built around the entire complex which did the job.
7. The Forth Bridge is an impressive piece of engineering
The Forth Bridge is a railway bridge which spans the estuary (Firth) of the River Forth in eastern Scotland. It links Fife to Edinburgh by railway and was the world's earliest great multi-span cantilever bridge when opened in 1890.
The bridge spans 2,529 meters and is still one of the longest in the world. it also, dare we say, one of the most attractive bridges in the world -- if you like that sort of thing?
8. The Confederation Bridge is another interesting piece of engineering
The Confederation Bridge is one of Canada's top engineering achievements of the 20th century. It is an impressive 12.9 kilometer(8 miles) long and is considered the longest bridge in the world. The bridge joins two eastern Canadian provinces, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.
9. The "Infinity Bridge" has a very bold design
The "Infinity Bridge" is a beautifully architected steel bridge that was designed as a bicycle and pedestrian bridge. It is 272 meters long and spans the Tees River in Stock-on-Tees, England.
The bridge was completed in May 2009 and took just under two years to be built.
The bridge was a major part of the North Shore Redevelopment Project which was driven by Tees Valley Regeneration. The entire project cost £15 million.
10. Chicago has more than its fair share of drawbridges
Chicago's iron bridges connect the two ends of the city which lie on either side of the Chicago River. The city is made up of a whopping 29 operating movable bridges. Although it does not beat Amsterdam's bridge total, it does come second.
Chicago is also known as the drawbridge capital of the world since it is the only city that has experimented with so many drawbridge designs. The city tested multiple bridge designs and finally settled on the Chicago-style bascule bridge.
This bridge is a drawbridge that uses trunnion to lift the bridge’s leaves using counterbalance.
The Chicago bridges have been the key to the city's successful development. They have assisted the expansion which started in the South and moved to the Northern part of the city.
Chicago's bridges have also helped connect the city's diverse mix of people, cultures, and neighborhoods.
11. Guangzhou Rail Yard has a lot of bullet trains
The Guangzhou Train Station is located in the city of Guangzhou, China. The station is one of the biggest stations in China. It is also one of the busiest railway stations in Southern China and is known for its notorious safety.
The Guangzhou Train Station is used for long-distance slow travel, metro travel as well as quick trips to Hong Kong or Shenzhen.
China's popular Bullet Train can be taken from Guangzhou station. There are four bullet train stations in Guangzhou.
The station's C-class train is great for quick access to and from the west-central Guangzhou area as well as the southern part of Shenzhen and Hong Kong.
12. Nuremberg's main rail station resembles a river
Nuremberg's main station is a regional transport hub to many major places in Germany such as Munich, Leipzig, and Frankfurt. The Nuremberg railway yard is therefore very busy and resembles a river with all its inflows.
13. The SOO railroad turntable in Minneapolis is a classic piece of engineering
During the steam era, a turntable was a very important device that could be found in most terminals. The turntable was used to turn locomotives which were operated most efficiently in the forward direction.
The idea of the turntable was to easily spin the locomotive in the required direction without the need for a large space. In the above image, at the SOO Railroad turntable in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the locomotives wait in line to be turned to face the required direction.
14. The New Croton Dam is a thing of beauty
The New Croton Dam is an impressive man-made structure with a beautiful waterfall-like spillway. The dam is located in Croton Gorge Park in Cortlandt Manor, New York. The dam includes a large retaining wall and an aerial bridge.
Its bridge allows observers to get a close-up view of the dam's rushing water.
The Old Croton Dam was originally built in 1842across the Croton River. It supplied water to Manhattan through a 41-mile underground aqueduct. Around the 1880s, the residents of New York City realized that their water requirements had increased.
Hence the construction of the New Croton Dam began in the early 1890s. The 'new' dam was completed in 1906.
The New Croton Dam is a perfect location for a family outing or a romantic date. The dam is an incredibly interesting engineering decision and a sight not to be missed.
15. Orlando International Airport looks like an alien lifeform
A bird's eye view of Orlando International Airport resembles a creature out of the film Men In Black (MIB). The airport is a central hub for commuters traveling through Orlando. According to statistics published in June 2016, the airport serves approximately 40 million passengers annually.
It appears as if Orlando International Airport's commuters are not afraid of this alien-like engineering decision.
16. Check out this 120-foot steel beam being towed
What's the longest object you've ever seen being transported by a tow truck?
A driver came across this giant steel beam which was being transported by a tow truck by Roanoke, Virginia. The driver inquired about the beam and discovery that it was 120 feet long.
The beam was destined for West Virginia where it would be used for a bridge over a ravine.
Being this long, it was not an easy item to transport. According to the tow truck driver, things become particularly difficult when driving up a dirt road.
Not only was the actual road a challenge but it was carved out of the side of a mountain.
17. The Union Pacific Bailey Yard is a very busy place
The Union Pacific Railroad's Bailey Yard is located in North Platte, Nebraska. It is the longest railroad classification yard in the world. It covers 2,850 acres and is 8 miles in length.
The yard has enough space to fit 2,800 football fields.
The Bailey Yard was named in honor of the former President of Union Pacific, President Edd H. Bailey. It handles approximately 10,000 railroad cars every 24 hours. As a result of the large number of cars coming in daily, the yard employs approximately 2600 employees.
18. Turbine Interchange in Lummen, Belgium is very fittingly named
The Turbine Interchange is located in Lummen Belgium. Its name is very fitting and is best represented when the bridge is viewed at night from the air.
19. Munich Subway is a very popular place
A step into Munich's subway takes you straight into a sci-fi movie. It is very popular among commuters and is currently being used by over 300,000 passengers daily.
20. Amundsen - Scott South Pole Station was built in the 1950s
The first American South Pole Station was completed in 1957. It was named Amundsen - Scott in honor of Roald Amundsen and Robert F. Scott who reached the South Pole in 1911 and 1912. The station has been upgraded several times since and is an innovative structure.
21. Judge Harry Pregerson Interchange looks a bit like a spiderweb
The Judge Harry Pregerson Interchange connects the 110 and 105 interchange in Los Angeles, California. The 130-foot (just under 40 meters) high interchange resembles a spiderweb from a bird's eye view and offers its drivers a breathtaking view of the South of Los Angeles.
The interchange is named after Judge Harry Pregerson who ensured that the community affected by the freeway received jobs, housing, and other services. Pregerson ended his active service on the court at the age of 92. He served as a Los Angeles-based judge for 50 years.
22. The Netherlands Aqueduct system is an incredible piece of engineering
Dutch engineers are famous for their skills when it comes to reclaiming land from the sea. This is necessary as one-third of the Netherlands lies below the mean sea level. Without the dunes, dikes, and pumps, approximately 65% of the country would be underwater at high tide.
The Aqueduct Veluwemeer is a marvelous piece of engineering and a perfect example of land reclaiming. It lies over the N302 road near Harderwijk, in the eastern Netherlands. Furthermore, it is located under a small part of the lake Veluwemeer.
The Aqueduct Veluwemeer connects the mainland Netherlands to Flevoland, which is the largest artificial island in the world. The aqueduct is 19 meters wide and 25 meters long.
It has a water depth of 3 meters which permits small boats to pass through. The aqueduct was opened to traffic in 2002 and allows approximately 28,000 vehicles to cross-over daily.
23. The Falkirk Wheel Boat Elevator is something of a work of art
There are two ways to transport a boat between water at two different elevations. The first method is using locks that are commonly used on rivers and canal waterways. The second method is by physically lifting the boat from one waterway and placing it onto the other.
The Falkirk Wheel is a rotating boat lift that follows this exact method. The wheel is situated near the town of Falkirk, Scotland and the only rotating boat lift, of its kind, in the world. The Falkirk Wheel is regarded as an engineering marvel for Scotland.
The 35 mtall boat lift connects the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. These were once connected by a series of 11 locks that stepped down over a distance of 1.5 km. The boat lift is now able to carry eight or more boats at a time in a single trip. It takes approximately 60 minutes for a complete trip.
24. Basketweave interchanges really do live up to their names
Therefore allowing traffic, which is traveling in the same direction, to switch between carriageways. This is done through the use of flyover or under ramps which are created between two carriageways. The method thus prevents weaving.
25. Tokyo Bay Aqualine
The Tokyo Bay Aqualine is a 15.1 km marine crossing which passes directly through the middle of Tokyo Bay. Also known as the Trans-Tokyo Bay Highway, the aquiline connects Kawasaki City, in Kanagawa Prefecture, to Kisarazu City, in Chiba Prefecture on the Boso Peninsular.
The journey from Kawasaki to Kisarazu now takes a mere 15 minutes. This is vital from an economic perspective as both areas are of major industrial importance.
The aquiline was eventually opened to traffic in December 1997 after taking 31 years for the research and construction process. The total cost of the motorway was 1.44 trillionyen which equates to around 12,929 million dollars.
The Tokyo Bay Aqualine is made up of a 9.5 km shield tunnel. It consists of a 4.4 km bridge between an artificial island and the Kisarazu landing.
The Aqualine's tunnel diameter is considered the world's largest diameter for an underwater vehicle shield tunnel. The outer cross-section diameter is 13.9 m while the inner diameter is 11.9 m. This diameter allows two traffic lanes in both directions.
And that, as they say, is a wrap.
Are there any other amazing pieces of engineering that you would include on a list like this? If so, please feel free to mention it in the comments below.