The World’s Largest Infrastructure Projects | The B1M
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The World’s Largest Infrastructure Projects | The B1M

The world we all inhabit relies on built infrastructure. Without it we wouldn’t be able to transport food, goods or services, we couldn’t power
our homes or access clean water, we couldn’t travel or commute. Quite literally enabling our societies to
function, the importance of infrastructure has grown significantly in recent years as
the global population expands, and as more people than ever are living in cities. Once a rare occurrence, multi-billion-dollar
infrastructure schemes have now become the norm as governments around the world strive
to keep pace with growth, raise living standards and enable further economic development. Pushing engineering to the limits, impacting
billions of people and generating some almost unfathomable statistics, these are the largest
infrastructure projects currently under construction on each of the six inhabited continents. We begin our journey in Oceania, where – despite
decades of successive governments favouring highways and toll roads – significant investment
is now being made into mass transit. As a result, the Sydney Metro is currently the largest infrastructure project under construction on the continent. Consisting of 31 new and upgraded metro stations,
the project is on track to deliver Australia’s first fully automated rail service. Originating in the city’s northwest, the new
line will travel for 66 kilometres, tunnelling under Sydney Harbour and the densely developed
central business district, before heading back out toward the southwestern suburbs. At a total cost of USD $14.7 BN – equivalent
to AUD $20.8 BN at the time of filming – the first phase of the project is set to open
in 2019 while phase two will complete in 2024. Widely recognised as one of the most ambitious
infrastructure projects in human history, China’s vast Belt and Road initiative aims
to better connect the country with its surrounding markets, boosting trade and economic growth. The “road” element of the project will
re-trace parts of the historic Silk Road that ran between Europe and Asia for many centuries,
while the “belt” aspect will create a maritime link with India and East Africa. The Chinese government believe that the project
heralds a “new era of globalisation” which will see countries like Russia, India, Iran,
Egypt and Pakistan benefit from the numerous sub-projects in the overall masterplan. Despite this, many see the scheme as an attempt by the Chinese to further expand their sphere of influence. With an estimated cost of USD $900BN, across
some 68 countries, the Belt and Road Initiative not only aims to connect China with 65% of
the global population but to fill the increasing infrastructure gap and accelerate growth across
Central and Eastern Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. Since Nigeria’s independence in 1960, the
country’s colonial-era railway infrastructure has steadily fallen into a state of disrepair
with freight and passenger numbers decreasing throughout the latter half of the 20th century. Now, in the wake of unprecedented growth and
the country’s emerging status as an African powerhouse, the Nigerian government are investing
billions into replacing and upgrading their rail systems. The largest of these projects is the USD $8.3BN
Lagos-Kano railway, a near 1,000km link that will connect Nigeria’s two largest cities
to a number of regional centres and its capital, Abuja, significantly reducing journey times. With Nigeria’s population set to nearly
double to 390 million people by 2050, its government will need to continue and even
exceed this level of investment in the decades ahead if it is to match growth and raise living
standards across the country. While the Grand Paris Express was set to replace
Crossrail as Europe’s largest infrastructure project at the end of 2018 – delays to London’s
new railway have awkwardly helped it retain its status. The entire 117-kilometre route runs from Reading
and Heathrow in the west, beneath central London and out to Shenfield and Abbey Wood
in the east. With 41 new and upgraded stations and over
42 kilometres of new tunnels under one of the world’s most historic and densely occupied
cities – the project is by far the largest undertaking in Europe, with initial the estimates
of USD $19BN (£15BN) soaring to USD $32BN (or almost £25BN) since works began. The largest infrastructure scheme currently
under construction in South America is Colombia’s USD $25BN fourth generation (4G) Roads and
Highway Programme. Consisting of some 30 major projects – from
tunnels and bridges to viaducts and an additional 3,742 kilometres of highways – the programme
aims to improve connectivity across Colombia. While a number of these schemes are already
underway, the programme in its entirety is expected to take a staggering 28 years to
complete. Finally in North America, the controversial
USD $63BN California High-Speed Rail project is expected to cut the rail journey time between
San Francisco and Los Angeles to 2 hours and 40 minutes. While the idea of linking these cities by
land has been around for many years – even forming the basis of Elon Musk’s
hyperloop proposal in 2013 – construction works on the high-speed line only commenced
in 2015. Set to form the first stage of California’s
larger High-Speed Rail network – which will include connections to Sacramento and San
Diego – the project is facing severe delays and cost overruns with its initial completion
date of 2028 now pushed back to 2033. If you enjoyed this video and would like to
get more from the definitive video channel for construction, subscribe to The B1M.


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