10 of the Largest Construction Projects in the World

What comes to mind when you consider the world’s biggest building projects? You’re correct if you guessed airports, canals, and subways. And, of course, industrial complexes and utility projects are included. However, some of the current projects included on the list may surprise you, such as the International Space Station and an amusement complex modeled like Disney World.

Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport

Middle East, United Arab Emirates, Dubai, new Al Maktoum airport was a massive development project. Bowman, Charles No other airport compares to Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport, which spans over 21 square miles. The facility is capable of handling 200 wide-body aircraft simultaneously. The second phase of the airport’s development is anticipated to cost more than $32 billion. Originally expected to be completed in 2018, the newest expansion phase has been postponed, and no completion date has been established.

Saudi Arabia, Jubail II

Jubail Industry City was a massive building project in Saudi Arabia’s Middle Eastern Cultureia. Getty Images / Ali Al Mubarak Jubail II is a 22-year-old industrial city extension project with a $11 billion expansion budget. It started its second phase in 2014. It will eventually include at least 100 industrial units, an 800,000-cubic-meter desalination plant, miles of trains, roads, and highways, and an oil refinery capable of generating at least 350,000 barrels per day. The full project is scheduled to conclude in 2024.

Dubailand is located in Dubai.

Dubailand, located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, was a massive development project. Getty Images / Matilde Gattoni Three Walt Disney Worlds may be included inside the Dubailand complex. Dubailand, which would cover an area of 278 square kilometers and cost $64 billion, will be divided into six sections: amusement parks, sports arenas, eco-tourism, health facilities, scientific attractions, and hotels. Additionally, it will have the world’s biggest hotel, with 6,500 rooms, and a 10-million-square-foot shopping mall. The project is anticipated to be completed in 2025.

Space, International Space Station

International Space Station building was an astronomically vast undertaking. Britannica/UIG / Getty Images Every 92 minutes, the International Space Station (ISS) rounds the globe. It is being built at a cost of more than $60 billion by a collaboration of 15 countries and five space agencies. The space station’s total cost and anticipated extensions might approach $1 trillion, at which time it could become a residence for up to 1 million extraterrestrial people.

China’s South-North Water Transfer Project

The South-North Water Transfer Project in China’s Qinghai province was a massive building undertaking. Getty Images / Christophe Boisvieux Although the north of China is home to about half of the country’s population, it only possesses around 20% of the country’s water resources. To address this imbalance, China has sponsored the building of three massive canals, each more than 600 miles long, that will transport water from China’s three major rivers to the north. The project is scheduled to be completed in 48 years. When fully operational, it will provide 44.8 billion cubic meters of water per year.

Crossrail Project in London

Men engaged in building work on the Crossrail subterranean metro system in London. Getty Images / Lionel Derimais The world’s first subterranean railway system continues to expand, with the addition of 26 miles of tube connecting 40 stops. Construction is anticipated to cost $23 billion. The project is slated to be completed in stages, with the first new line—the Elizabeth line—expected to open in 2019 and the additional lines following in 2020.

California’s High-Speed Railway

Trains Traveling Along A Railroad Track With A City in the Background Getty Images / Ren Morales California’s high-speed rail construction started in 2015 and is slated to conclude in 2029. It will link eight of the state’s ten major cities, stretching from San Diego to San Francisco. The project is divided into two phases: The first phase will link Los Angeles to San Francisco; the second phase will expand the connection to San Diego and Sacramento. The train will be totally electric, run entirely on renewable energy, and capable of reaching speeds of up to 200 miles per hour.

Japan’s Chuo Shinkansen

Pond 5 inside Sellafield Getty Images / Barry Lewis Officially known as the Linear Chuo Shinkansen, Japan’s newest high-speed train line will connect Tokyo and Nagoya, a distance of 286 kilometers, in 40 minutes at a top speed of 505 kilometers per hour. This section of the high-speed route is expected to be completed by 2027. A further phase will see the railway extended to Osaka. The Tokyo-Nagoya line will be underground for about 86 percent of its length, necessitating major tunnel construction. This magnetic levitation (a.k.a. “maglev”) train is the world’s fastest.

Beijing International Airport, China

Beijing, China, Beijing Capital International Airport. A portion of the new Terminal 3 building, which opened in February 2008 and is the world’s second biggest structure. Getty Images / Christian Kober Beijing International Airport will ultimately outperform Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport in terms of cost, total square miles, passenger and aircraft capacity. The first section of the airport was finished in time for the 2008 Olympic Games. Additional expansion is expected to be completed by 2025. Terminal 1, built by Zaha Hadid, embodies a variety of sustainable design principles inside a future architectural shell.

Libya’s Great Man-Made River Project

Truck with colossal pipe Getty Images / Friedrich Schmidt Since 1985, Libya has been developing the “Great Man-Made River” (GMR) project. It is the world’s biggest irrigation project. When finished, it would irrigate over 350,000 acres of agricultural land and significantly boost drinking water availability in the majority of Libya’s metropolitan areas. The project’s water supply comes from the subterranean Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System. The project is anticipated to be completed in 2030.