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World's 20 most expensive transport projects

Last updated on: July 1, 2011 17:54 IST

World's 20 most expensive transport projects

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A well-developed transport system is crucial to a country's economic growth and stability.

Countries across the world are investing heavily on infrastructure development as a good network of road, rail and air transport forms the backbone of a strong economy. Here's a look at the most expensive transportation projects.

Interstate Highway System Network (United States)
Cost: $114 billion

A network of limited-access roadways in the United States, the system has a total length of 75,440 kilometres.

The Interstate Highway System is a subsystem of the National Highway System.

Completed in 1992, this freeway system links all major US cities, with many interstate roads passing through downtown areas.

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Image: Interstate Highway.

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High speed rail network (China)
Cost: $ 32.5 billion

China flagged off high-speed bullet trains linking Beijing and Shanghai on June 30.

The train cuts the travel time of the 1,318-km route to just 5 hours, half of what it took previously.

The train links China's prosperous Pan-Bohai and Yangtze River Delta economic zones, cutting the train-travel time between the two cities to under five hours.

The Beijing-Shanghai train track was laid at the cost 215 billion yuan ($32.5 billion).

China has the world's longest high-speed rail (HSR) network with about 8,358 kilometres of routes in service as of January 2011 including 2,197 km (1,365 mi) of rail lines with top speeds of 350 km/h (220 mph).

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Image: A new high-speed train arrives at the Beijing-South railway station.
Photographs: David Gray/Reuters.
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Crossrail (Southeast England)
Cost: $25.8 billion

Crossrail is a project to build major new railway connections in central London. The rail services will complement the north-south Thameslink route.

Ten-carriage trains will run at frequencies of up to 24 trains per hour (tph) in each direction through the central tunnel section.

The first train will start service by in 2017.

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Image: Crossrail project.

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Big Dig Central Artery/Tunnel Project (United States)
Cost: $22 billion

The Central Artery/Tunnel Project is a mega project in Boston that rerouted the Central Artery (Interstate 93), the chief highway through the heart of the city, into a 3.5-mile (5.6-km) tunnel.

Initially, the plan was also to include a rail connection between Boston's two major train terminals.

Completed in 2007, the Big Dig was the most expensive highway project in the US.


Image: Big Dig Central Artery.

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Hong Kong International Airport (Hong Kong)
Cost: $20 billion

Hong Kong International Airport was built on the island of Chek Lap Kok.

The airport opened for commercial operations in 1998. The Hong Kong International Airport has won eight Skytrax World Airport Awards for customer satisfaction in eleven years.

HKIA ranked second and third in 2009 and 2010 respectively for the Skytrax World Airport Awards, and has also won the Skytrax World Airport of the Year 2011.

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Image: Hong Kong International Airport.

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Second Avenue Subway (United States)
Cost: $17 billion

The Second Avenue Subway (SAS) is a planned rapid transit subway line, part of the New York City Subway system.

The first Phase consists of 3 kilometres of tunnel and three stations, is currently under construction.

The project is expected to be completed in 2016.


Image: Second Avenue Subway.

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Channel Tunnel (England & France)
Cost: $15.4 billion

The Channel Tunnel is a 50.5-kilometre undersea rail tunnel linking Folkestone, Kent in England with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais near Calais in northern France beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover.

With a length of 37.9 kilometres, the Channel Tunnel has the longest undersea portion of any tunnel in the world.

The tunnel connects end-to-end with the LGV Nord and High Speed 1 high-speed railway lines. In 1996, the American Society of Civil Engineers identified the tunnel as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

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Image: Channel Tunnel.

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Al Maktoum International Airport (United Arab Emirates)
Cost: $10 billion

Al Maktoum International Airport in Jebel Ali opened on 27 June 2010.

It will be the main part of Dubai World Central, a planned residential, commercial and logistics complex.

The World Central is an integrated logistics platform with most transport modes, logistics and value added services. This mammoth complex is expected to be completed by 2022.

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Image: Al Maktoum International Airport.

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Thameslink Programme (Southeast England)
Cost: $8.9-9.7 billion

The Thameslink Programme plans to upgrade and expand the Thameslink rail network to provide new and longer trains between a wider range of stations to the north and to the south of London.

The project involves platform lengthening, station remodelling, new railway infrastructure, and additional rolling stock.

The project was originally proposed in 1991 following the successful introduction of the initial Thameslink service in 1990.

It is expected to be completed by 2018.

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Image: Thameslink.

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Gotthard Base Tunnel (Switzerland)
Cost: $9 billion

The Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT) is a railway tunnel beneath the Alps in Switzerland.

With a route length of 57 kilometres and a total of 151.84 km tunnels, shafts and passages, it is the world's longest rail tunnel.

The project consists of two single track tunnels and is likely to be completed in 2017.


Image: Gotthard Base Tunnel.

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Barcelona Metro Line 9 (Spain)
Cost: $ 8.9 billion

Barcelona Metro Line 9, currently under construction will have with five new stations. It will be the longest automatic metro line in Europe by 2014.

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Image: Barcelona Metro Line.

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Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (Hong Kong)
Cost: $8.6 billion

The Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link is a proposed high speed railway connecting Kowloon with the high-speed rail network of China at Shenzhen.

It will connect Hong Kong with Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong province.

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Image: Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link.

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Strait of Messina Bridge
Cost: $8.6 billion

It is a suspension bridge across the Strait of Messina. When completed, the bridge will be the largest suspension bridge in the world, almost doubling the main span of the Akashi-Kaikyo in Japan.

The bridge is part of the Line 1 of Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T).

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Image: Strait of Messina Bridge.

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High Speed 1 (Southeast England)
Cost: $8.4 billion

High Speed 1 (HS1) is a 108-kilometre high-speed railway line running from London through Kent to the British end of the Channel Tunnel.

The line was built to carry international passenger traffic from the United Kingdom to Continental Europe.

Completed in 2007, trains can run at a speed of 230 to 300 kilometres per hour.

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Image: High Speed 1.

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Crosstown LRT Rapid transit line (Canada)
Cost: $8.4 billion

The Crosstown LRT is a proposed rapid transit line for the Toronto subway and RT in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The line is to be operated by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and owned by Metrolinx.

It is expected to be completed by 2020.

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Image: Crosstown LRT Rapid transit line.

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London Heathrow Terminal 5 (United Kingdom)
Cost: $7 billion

London Heathrow Terminal 5 opened in 2008, is used as a global hub exclusively by British Airways.

The terminal is designed to handle 35 million passengers a year. The building was designed by Richard Rogers Partnership.

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Image: London Heathrow Terminal 5.

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Abu Dhabi International Airport (United Arab Emirates)
Cost: $6.8 billion

Abu Dhabi International Airport is one of the fastest growing airports in the world in terms of passengers, new airline operators, and infrastructural development.

Terminal 3 opened in January 2009, helps the airport handle 12 million passengers per annum.

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Image: Abu Dhabi International Airport.

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Oresund Bridge (Sweden)
Cost: $5.7 billion

A combined two-track rail and four-lane road bridge across the Oresund strait, the bridge-tunnel is the longest combined road and rail bridge in Europe and connects the two metropolitan areas of Copenhagen and Malmo.

The international European route E20 runs across the bridge, as does the Oresund Railway Line.

The Oresund Bridge received the 2002 IABSE Outstanding Structure Award.

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Image: Oresund Bridge.

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New Doha International Airport
Cost: $5.5 billion

New Doha International Airport (NDIA) is an international airport currently under construction in Doha, capital of Qatar.

NDIA has been designed to handle the growing volume of traffic at the airport. The airport will be able to handle 24 million annual passengers.

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Image: New Doha International Airport.

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Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge Road (Japan)
Cost: $5 billion

The Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge also known as the Pearl Bridge, has the longest central span of any suspension bridge, at 1,991 metres (6,532 ft).

Completed in 2008, the bridge links the city of Kobe on the mainland of Honshu to Iwaya on Awaji Island by crossing the busy Akashi Strait. It carries a part of the Honshu-Shikoku Highway.


Image: Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge Road.

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