Large projects are often popular and widely anticipated because they are sure to lead to better transportation, environmental improvements and economic boosts for the area.

Up and coming construction varies from Forest City in Malaysia, set on over 3,000 acres of seagrass, flora and fauna with an estimated completion date by 2035 to the TEN-T Core Network in Europe, designed to create a network of railway lines, roads, waterways and shipping routes at the cost of $600 billion by 2050.

Everything from the Big Dig in Boston to the International Space Station has cost billions of dollars, years of construction and often complicated obstacles but in the end, we look forward to the finished project and the ease of having such a mega-project in the books.

Since 2001, the world can look back at some of the larger buildings, bridges and entertainment spaces of the 21st century and be proud of what they’ve accomplished so far.

10 One World Trade Center – $3.8 Billion

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It was highly anticipated; a symbol of sorts for the citizens of New York and the world to watch a building replace the space where the twin towers once stood. What was originally thought to cost around $700 million drastically rose in cost when special security measures were included. The 1,776-foot skyscraper sits on top of a heavily reinforced, windowless podium and a thick core of concrete and steel around its elevator shafts. More so, the building reflects the unity and stamina of a city attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.

9 Marmaray Tunnel – $4.5 Billion

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The 47-mile underwater railway tunnel gives Istanbul, Turkey a new rail line as well as a connection point between European and Asian sides of town. The new transportation opened to the public in 2013 and the project was deemed complete in 2019. Known as the deepest immersed tube tunnel in the world, construction was delayed when workers discovered artifacts dating back 8,000 years. Today, the long-awaited tunnel provides efficient transportation and connection for many travelers.

8 Panama Canal Expansion – $5.3 Billion

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The Panama Canal was built in the early 1900’s as workers dealt with a list of obstacles. According to How Stuff Works, after working through mudslides and malaria, the project was seen as one of the world’s engineering marvels. As the 21st century approached, an upgrade was needed to accommodate larger transportation and double the cargo traveling through the canal. In 2014, construction halted when a disagreement arose about an additional $1.16 billion cost overrun but the canal finally reopened in 2016.

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7 Gotthard Base Tunnel – $23 Billion

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It was nearly 20 years in the making but in 2016, the final piece of the Gotthard Base Tunnel was complete, creating a flat track route to move passengers and freight between Zurich, Switzerland and Milan. According to Popular Mechanics, the tunnel dips 7,500 feet below the mountain peaks and eliminates the need for winding mountain routes.

6 Beijing Daxing International Airport – $25 Billion

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Designed to be the world’s largest airport terminal by Zaha Hadid, the Beijing terminal can accommodate 100 million passengers per year. It includes seven runways and seven and a half million square feet of space. The airport won awards for best hygiene measures and best in size and region in 2020, including both awards and Voice of the Customer in 2021 by the Airports Council International. The entire project is planned for completion by 2025.

5 California High Speed Rail – $33 Billion

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President Barak Obama spurred the support for a high-speed rail project beginning in California and connecting major U.S. Cities along the way. According to Wonders List, the project began in 2015 and the first phase is scheduled to be complete by 2029. The initial portion connects Merced to Bakersfield, eventually linking San Francisco to Los Angeles. They are just getting started and the mega-project is already over the original budget.

4 Songdo International Business District – $40 Billion

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One of the most expensive real estate development projects in the world is South Korea’s “smart city”, featuring automatic recycling plants, green building certification and homage to other world landmarks like New York City’s Central Park and Venice’s waterways. The Business District includes the Northeast Asia Trade Tower (South Korea’s tallest building) , G-Tower and the Incheon Tower. Computers have been built into homes, streets and offices as part of a wide area network.

3 Dubailand – $76 Billion

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The project will boast one of the largest and most expensive entertainment areas in the world, including a Disney theme park, IMAX theater and other family attractions. Their goal was to increase tourism to the region and the project began in the early 2000’s, however, came to a halt in 2008 due to a financial crisis in Dubai. Construction resumed in 2013.

2 King Abdullah Economic City – $86 Billion

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In 2005, the King Abdullah Economic City was announced with anticipation of creating a larger-than-life tourist attraction in Saudi Arabia. Upon completion, the city will include entertainment, top notch hotels, luxury amenities and a massive airport.

1 Kashagan Fields – $116 Billion

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The multinational project has partnered Total, Shell, Exxon Mobil, China National Petroleum Corp., INPEX, KazMunaiGas and AgipKCO. The Kashagan Fields represent the largest oil discovery made in the past 40 years and is expected to produce more than 90,000 barrels of oil per day.

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Sources: How Stuff Works, Popular Mechanics, Wonders List

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