The Five Wonders of Modern Civil Engineering

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    One of the traces that man leaves in history are the works of engineering, which century by century, and lately decade by decade, exceed the limits of what seems possible at the time of their creation. Examples of this are the construction of skyscrapers at the speed of vertigo, great channels that have united oceans, bridges that have connected areas that seemed impossible to connect by road, and constructions that defy nature. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has been responsible for collecting the works (called wonders) that have marked a before and after in the world of engineering. Both at the time of their construction and now, they have impacted humanity.

    English Channel La Manche - United Kingdom and France

    The tunnel under the English Channel, also known as Eurotunnel, is a railway tunnel over 50 kilometers long that opened in 1994 after 6 years of work. The project is composed of three routes: two for the traffic of trains that can travel at 160 kilometers per hour, covering the journey in 35 minutes, and another intermediate tunnel for services and security.

    The idea of a tunnel connecting the United Kingdom and France began to take shape in the 19th century and came to have the support of Queen Victoria and Napoleon II. The impeller was the French engineer Albert Mathieu and his project contemplated an artificial island and a sort of toll towards the halfway point of the passage, so that the travelers changed horse. However, the idea fell on deaf ears and the project was not retaken until the 80s of the next century. Around 15,000 workers were needed for its construction.

    CN Tower - Toronto (Canada)

    The CN Tower is, in addition to the most visited place in Toronto, the eighth tallest building in the world with 457 meters of height in its observatory and 553 at the highest point of its antenna (six times the Big Ben of London). Its construction was completed in 1976, and although it was conceived as a telecommunications tower from the beginning, it is now better known for its observatory. Climbing the CN Tower is a must while visiting the beautiful city of Toronto, and it can also be counted among the main reasons to visit Canada.

    Empire State Building - New York (USA)

    The plot on which the Empire State sits was originally occupied by a mansion and later by a hotel. Everything changed when a group of businessmen, including a former General Motors executive, created Empire State Inc. in 1929 and a year later decided to raise the skyscraper. The construction of the building advanced at a rate of four and a half floors per week and in 1931 it opened its doors. It then became the tallest building in the world, a title that it held for more than 40 years until the World Trade Center was built, also in New York.

    The most daring can climb to its observatories, located on floors 86 and 102, and enjoy a spectacular 360-degree view of New York City. Among the characteristics of this building are the lights that illuminate it, which have changed colors since 1976 as tributes or to celebrate world days.

    Golden Gate - San Francisco (USA)

    The name of this iconic bridge comes from where it is located, in the Golden Gate Strait. In 1937, the bridge began to be built, driven by the rapid growth of San Francisco, which made it necessary to find land on the other side of the strait. It received popular support for its construction despite the difficulties such as the Great Depression, the strong tides in the zone, the continuous and intense fog, and the dangerous San Andreas fault.

    81 years after its construction, and even though other bridges have exceeded it in height and length, the Golden Gate continues being a symbol for San Francisco and the United States that will last "forever" according to its chief engineer Joseph Strauss. With its two towers of more than 227 meters height and its characteristic orange color, the Golden Gate has become a global landmark.

    Panama Canal

    This canal allowed the union of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans without having to sail around the Southern Cone. Although its construction is relatively modern, it is necessary to go back to the 16th century to see the first approaches to its construction. In 1513, the Spanish explorer Vasco Nuñez de Balboa was the first to discover the narrow piece of land between the Pacific and Atlantic in the Isthmus of Panama, and after communicating it to Emperor Charles V, he decided to commission the first plans of the project. It was not until the end of the 19th century that the project began to materialize, and the first trip was inaugurated in August 1914, after the construction was completed with US involvement at a total cost of 375 million dollars.

    It is considered a triumph of engineering, not without difficulties because it involved digging through a mountain range, among other large-scale environmental issues. The Panama Canal was the largest dam in the world for some time, when the largest docks and gates had not been built yet.

    About the Author: Aggeliki is an avid traveller who has been discovering herself, through vivid and intense experiences around Greece and abroad. She writes for Trip and Travel Blog and her dream is to leave no corner explored and no stone unturned.


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