The advancement of technology and the ambition of mankind have enabled the constant evolution of infrastructure. If something appears impossible, somebody will undoubtedly try to make it happen. Great ambition, however, often comes at an even greater price. Here are seven of the most expensive infrastructure projects in the world.

Itaipu Dam- $19bn

This extraordinary project is proving the incredible potential of green energy production. The Itaipu Dam is located on the Paraná River bordering Brazil and Paraguay. It is arguably the largest clean, renewable energy generator on the planet, and as of 2016, produced a record-breaking 103.09m MWH in a single year. Break these numbers down and essentially the Itaipu Dam is providing roughly 16% of the energy needed to power Brazil – plus 76% of the energy Paraguay consumes!

Itaipu Dam

Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor – $90bn

This astounding and hugely ambitious project aims to stretch from India’s capital, Delhi, to its financial hub in Mumbai. That makes the DMIC one of the largest infrastructure projects in the world, spanning 1,500km across six states. It is set to include twenty-four industrial regions, eight smart cities, two airports, five power projects and two logistical hubs.

Channel Tunnel – $22.4bn

Linking the south coast of England to the northern coast of France, the Channel Tunnel covers 23.5 miles of its length undersea, making it the longest portion of sub-water tunnel in the world. Starting in 1988, the project took five years to finish, with the recognised halfway point landing on December 1st, 1990 – workers from each side officially greeted each other in the middle. It has since been given the impressive title of one of the seven wonders of the modern world, with 20.7 million people using the Chanel Tunnel in 2017.


Big Dig – $23bn

For Bostonians, the Big Dig became synonymous with everyday life – the project took over 20 years to complete, starting in 1987 and ending in 2007. The wait may have been worth it considering that it ended up being the most complex and technologically challenging highway project ever successfully completed in the USA. According to the official site, the project cost $3m a day at the peak of its construction.

Al Maktoum International Airport – $35.7bn

By the time this project is completed, the Al Maktoum International Airport (Dubai) will be the largest airport in the world. The plans estimate that the site will cover an area of 35,000 acres and has an envisioned annual capacity of between 160 and 260 million passengers. With a remarkable projected cost of over $35bn, the airport is having to be built in stages with the expected completion date set for 2020.

Kansai International Airport – $20bn

It’s hard to imagine Japan’s Kansai International Airport was once soft seabed, but until construction began in 1987 it was just that. It took extraordinary engineering to reclaim the land and develop into what is now one of the busiest airports in the world. With just over $20bn of investment, this artificial island/airport is one for the history books.

Kansai International Airport

Forest City – $100bn

Forest City is an awe-conjuring partnership project between Malaysia and China, with a projected cost of $100bn. The artificial island aims to deliver luxurious lifestyle, leisure and living in one location. Connected by a network of underground tunnels, the cars will travel and park below the surface so as not to disturb the plethora of tranquil gardens and elaborate community spaces above. It’s an incredible project, set to be covered in greenery, sky gardens, wetlands, and rainwater and air purification systems to provide a slice of paradise on earth.

These projects go some way to prove that the future of infrastructure is exciting. As long as there are architects with ideas and people that are willing to invest, there will be projects that will innovate and inspire us. But it also shows us that it’s going to be expensive.

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