Mankind has managed to do many pretty amazing things, building a tunnel under the English Channel and flying to the moon. Manpower and intellect make it possible, but it
10. Gerald R. Ford Aircraft Carrier estimated $14 billion
Newport News Shipbuilding is expected to deliver the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier to the U.S. Navy in 2016. About 5,000 shipbuilders worked on the Ford-class carrier estimated to cost about $14 billion when completed. It weighs 224 million pounds and is about 25 stories high, 1,106 feet long and 250 feet wide. It is expected to handle up to 220 takeoffs and landings from its deck per day. When it joins the Navy fleet, it will be the largest, most lethal ship ever. Other ships using the Ford design, the first new design since the 50-year-old Nimitz-class carrier was designed, are also planned.
9. The Channel Tunnel, $22.4 billion
The underground Channel Tunnel stretches 31.4 miles between the United Kingdom and France underneath the English Channel. It features three tunnels, two for rail traffic and one for security and services. Both freight and passenger traffic use the tunnel.
A consortium of British and French corporations and banks privately financed the $22.4 billion project, recognized as one of the “Seven Wonders of the Modern World” by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The Channel Tunnel’s 23.5-mile undersea portion is the longest undersea portion of any tunnel in the world.
8. Apollo space program, $25.4 billion
The Apollo space program including the 1969 moon landing by the Apollo 11 Lunar Module came to $25.4 billion, according to what was reported to Congress. That includes Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s historic moonwalk and the six landings after the first landing. It remains one of the most expensive projects in history and one of humanity’s greatest technological achievements.
7. Kansai International Airport, $29 billion
The region of Osaka, Japan’s second largest city, started planning for a new airport in the 1960s when city officials became concerned about losing trade to Tokyo. The Osaka International Airport could not be expanded because it was too close to surrounding buildings, so the next plan was to build a new airport in Osaka Bay. Italian architect Renzo Piano designed the water-based airport, located on a man-made island specifically created for the airport. The airport had to be built enough to withstand earthquakes and typhoons, both of which it has withstood since being built. Part of the $29 billion price tag went to helping the island not sink.
6. California High-Speed Rail, $33 billion plus
The California High-Speed Rail project has just begun and is already way over its original $33 billion budget. The first phase is planned to run between Madera and Bakersfield. When – or if – fully completed the high-speed “bullet train” will stretch between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Obstacles keep slowing down progress as the estimated cost of the project, projected to be completed in 2029, has reached $98.5 billion.
5. Dubailand, $76 billion
Dubailand isn’t even done and is already one of the most expensive projects in history. Dubai’s financial crisis stopped work between 2008 and 2013. Investors have already spent $76 billion on what – if completed – will be one of the world’s largest entertainment facilities. An IMAX theater, a Disney theme park and more are planned.
4. King Abdullah Economic City, $95 billion
Construction of the Saudi Arabian city, named after the late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, started in 2020. The city will be slightly larger than Washington, D.C. and house 2 million residents. It will include an industrial complex, a financial complex, a port, beach facilities and residential neighborhoods with the hope of diversifying the region’s economies. As of 2015, only 15 percent had been completed.
3. Kashagan Fields, $116 billion
The largest oil discovery in the past 40 years led to Kashagan Fields, located in the Caspian Sea. When completed in 2017, it is expected to produce more than 90,000 barrels of oil a day. Experts estimate the production yield to total as much as 13 billion barrels of retrievable oil. Part of the construction includes building man-made islands in a sea frozen for large periods of time.
2. International Space Station, $150 billion
The International Space Station orbits Earth and enables scientists to conduct experiments in astronomy, biology, and physics. Fourteen countries including the United States worked together to complete this approximately $150 billion project built on Earth then assembled in space. The future of this astronomical feat, one of the most expensive projects in history? It may be crashed into the ocean when it reaches 26 years of service in 2020.
1. The Interstate Highway System, $459 billion
American motorists are quite familiar with the most expensive project in the history of mankind. That’s the Interstate Highway System that connects more than 47,000 miles and took nearly 35 years to complete. Started in 1955, it improved travel for both citizens and the military, which needed more accessible routes in case of war.