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  • Writer's pictureMerlo Construction


When it comes to large-scale construction across the globe in 2018, the standout theme is transportation. Some of the biggest projects keeping commercial excavating contractors busy right now are airports and rail infrastructure projects. Some projects have opened this year, many won’t be completed anytime soon, and a couple are so large they qualify as mega projects. Let’s take a look at 6 outstanding large construction projects.

1. Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland

Built in an abandoned quarry in Songjiang, about 20 miles from Shanghai, this hotel has only two floors above ground. The remaining 16 floors plunge 300 feet below ground. The bottom two floors are actually underwater, with views into a huge aquarium now on the quarry floor. Design and construction have taken around 10 years to complete and the hotel and will open in November 2018. The hotel takes advantage of the thermal mass of the rock wall and the cool air at the bottom of the quarry to regulate building temperature.

2. Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, China

Another project opened in 2018 is this amazing new bridge and tunnel project in Hong Kong. Linking Hong Kong to Macau and mainland China, this is now the longest sea bridge on the planet at around 18.5 miles. To avoid blocking shipping lanes, it includes a four-mile stretch of underwater tunnel. Two large artificial islands have been created where the tunnel enters and emerges.

3. Saleforce Tower, San Francisco

A standout project on U.S. soil which opened in 2018, this 61-story tower is now one of the tallest in the U.S. outside of New York or Chicago. It is a mixed-use building which has office, residential and retail spaces, as well as transportation. The top six floors of the tower are lit up nightly with an art project by Jim Campbell, called “Day for Night.” Comprised of 11,000 LED lights, the display features images of San Francisco life and is designed to be seen up to 20 miles away.

4. SR 99 Tunnel, Seattle

The world’s largest tunnel boring machine, referred to as Bertha, was built just for this project. Fifty-seven foot wide Bertha has already completed the tunneling, though not without a few stops and delays along the way. The road construction was finished in 2018, and now the smart systems are being added. It is due to open early 2019.

5. Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC)

This mammoth airport in Dubai is set to be the largest in the world. It has been open to passenger traffic since 2013. Capacity reaches 26 million passengers per annum when the first expansion opens later in 2018. Further planned expansions expect it to overtake Dubai International airport, as Emirates moves its operational base there. Though delays have recently been announced, it is designed to ultimately extend over a massive 110 sq mi and have a capacity of over 200 million passengers per annum by around 2030.

6. California High-Speed Rail

Construction on this huge rail project began in 2015, and it is expected to be operational by 2033. Current construction will link downtown San Francisco with Los Angeles and Anaheim. Further plans see the project extend to San Diego and Sacramento. Although the projected bill is in excess of $70 billion, the rail will run on renewable energy, and ultimately reduce the need for freeway and airport expansions. Two hours 40min to get from LA to downtown San Francisco sounds very good indeed. Around the world, there are several more large infrastructure projects getting started in 2018, or currently under construction. The London Crossrail system will add 26 miles of new tunnels and link 4o stations, and huge rail projects are also underway connecting Tokyo to Nagoya, and more in Qatar. Beijing’s mega project airport is in progress. Locally, Merlo Construction is available as one of the leading MDOT prequalified commercial excavating contractors in Farmington Hills, MI. It has years of experience to complete large-scale excavation and concrete projects.

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