Top 10 Most Influential Projects by Industry

Infrastructure

MIP_Flag Most Influential Projects 2021
Inside the Mumbai Metro tunnel
01
Mumbai Metro Line 3
Mobility | South Asia
Mumbai’s railway system typically serves more than 7 million commuters every day, but the jam-packed trains in the world’s eighth-largest city create risks that regularly injure and even kill riders. Looking to provide safe mass transit to its rapidly growing population, Mumbai Metro Rail Corp. (MMRC)—a consortium of India’s state and central governments—is building the city’s first underground train system. Collaborating with design and engineering consultants including AECOM, Padeco, LBG and Egis Group, the team broke down the megaproject into two sections: The first is on pace to be delivered by December 2021, with the remaining section expected to be operational by mid-2022.
13th Most Influential Project of 2021
MIP_Flag Most Influential Projects 2021
42-Atal-Tunnel-image-1
02
Atal Tunnel
Infrastructure | South Asia
Heavy snowfall blankets the main roads to and from India’s Lahaul and Spiti Valley for six months each year, isolating towns and villages from supplies and services, and stifling economic progress. The solution? A 9-kilometer (5.6-mile) highway tunnel through the Rohtang Pass, high in the Himalayan mountains. Despite blizzards, mudslides, freezing temperatures and, of course, the pandemic, the horseshoe-shaped double-lane passage opened in October 2020 as the world’s longest high-altitude tunnel.
42nd Most Influential Project of 2021
MIP_Flag Most Influential Projects 2021
Wufengshan Yangtze River Bridge
03
Wufengshan Yangtze River Bridge
Infrastructure | China
Completed in December, the world’s first high-speed railway suspension bridge slashes travel between Shanghai and Lianyungang from 11 hours to three. Designed by China Railway Major Bridge Reconnaissance & Design Institute and built by China Railway Major Bridge Engineering Group and China Communications Second Aviation Bureau, the new structure is the highest-loading, largest-spanning and fastest-running bridge of its kind. It also ranks as China’s first suspension bridge that combines a railway and highway. The 1,092-meter (3,583-foot) bridge links the cities of Yangzhou and Zhenjiang with an eight-lane upper-deck expressway and a lower four-lane railway designed to run at 250 kilometers (155 miles) per hour.
44th Most Influential Project of 2021
Portlands Bridge
04
Port Lands Bridges
Infrastructure
About a 20-minute walk from downtown Toronto, 290 hectares (717 acres) of land are in danger of flooding from the next big storm. The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority is working on a flood protection project that will naturalize the mouth of the waterway and connect it to Lake Ontario, creating over 1,000 meters (3,281 feet) of new river channel. But that means pedestrians, bikes, cars and light rail will need a way to cross. So U.K. studio Grimshaw and consulting engineers Entuitive and Schlaich Bergermann Partner designed an aesthetically unified family of three bridges (each twinned to make six total). The first was placed over a concrete-lined channel in November 2020, and in August and September, the second span of the second bridge—the longest of the bunch—was delivered by barge and then overland to a site that will become part of the naturalized river valley.
05
Nairobi Expressway
Infrastructure | Sub-Saharan Africa
Kenya’s first major public-private partnership project could dramatically cut congestion in Nairobi’s busiest areas—and pave the way to a new way of getting things done. Kenya National Highways Authority estimated that in 2019, the country was losing over KES50 million daily due to traffic jam- and accident-related delays. So the agency joined forces with China Road and Bridge Corp. to build a 27-kilometer (17-mile) expressway that could slash rush-hour travel times from two hours to about 15 minutes. And that could be a boon for the whole region: Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia estimated the new expressway will carry 85 percent of all cargo and commuter traffic in surrounding areas. The US$600 million project is expected to wrap in early 2022. For now, the main benefit is an economic boost in the form of 1,800 locals hired to support the project.
MOSE
06
MOSE
Infrastructure | Europe
Venice’s flood-control system was put to the test in October 2020—and it worked, holding back the water for the first time after decades of R&D. Consorzio Venezia Nuova, a consortium of Italian construction companies, began working on the project back in 1987. Fast-forward 30-some years and the new system kept most of the oft-inundated city dry when it was hit by heavy rains and high winds. How? MOSE (MOdulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico or Experimental Electromechanical Module) uses four flood barriers, each consisting of between 18 and 21 metal gates that rise at three ports to cut off the Venetian lagoon from the Adriatic Sea. The bright yellow gates are raised when tides are predicted to reach 130 centimeters (4.3 feet) and designed to be invisible under the water when not in use.
Texas Central Railroad
07
Texas Central Railroad
Infrastructure | North America
The Texas Central Railroad connecting Houston and Dallas—two of the biggest cities in the United States—would be the country’s first high-speed rail system. Serving some 100,000 “super-commuters” who travel weekly between the two metropolises, the train will travel the 236 miles (380 kilometers) in 90 minutes. The rail is modeled off Japan’s Tokaido Shinkansen high-speed system, and Texas Central—also the name of the company behind the project—is working with the Central Japan Railway Co. on knowledge transfer. The US$20 billion project has crossed several regulatory hurdles, and in June the company signed a US$16 billion contract with Italian civil engineering firm Webuild and its U.S. subsidiary Lane Construction to lead construction.
Clean Green City Grant
08
Clean and Green City Grant
Infrastructure | North America
Recycling in the United States lags many other industrialized countries, due in large part to a lack of adequate infrastructure. Many recycling facilities can’t handle the amounts and variety of recyclables and end up sending 30 percent of what they receive to landfills. In May, Compology, a tech-fueled waste management company, launched the Clean and Green City Grant initiative to give 25 municipalities smart cameras to track what goes into municipal trash and recycling dumpsters. Running the video through its AI software, Compology will then provide usage data to reduce unnecessary waste pickups, enhance recycling rates and save money.
Kazungula Bridge
09
Kazungula Bridge
Infrastructure | Sub-Saharan Africa
The US$260 million road and rail bridge that links Zambia to Botswana across the Zambezi River has the potential to redirect the flow of traffic throughout much of Africa—and provide a major lift to the region’s economy. Before the bridge opened in May, a ferry was the only option, and truckers could spend 14 days or more waiting and dealing with transit formalities. Completed by South Korea’s Daewoo Engineering & Construction, the bridge is now as lively as it is fast—and a big win for government leaders planning a larger infrastructure push that extends along the North-South Corridor.
Arouca  Bridge
10
516 Arouca
Infrastructure | Europe
Portugal’s Arouca UNESCO Geopark is home to great short-toed eagles, strawberry butterflies, roe deer, red squirrels and Iberian wolves. And as of April, it’s also the site of 516 Arouca, the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge. Designed by Portuguese studio Itecons and constructed by Conduril, the €1.7 million project has been underway since 2018—and it’s not for the faint of heart: The 516-meter (1,693-foot) span comprises 127 connected sections that hang 175 meters (574 feet) over the Paiva River. Tall supporting pillars at each end are angled to account for both vertical stress (the weight of people and the bridge itself) and horizontal wind forces. A system of hangars connects the main cable to the 1.2-meter (3.9-foot) wide deck in a way that minimizes tilt (and panic) should pedestrians congregate on one side.