Extraordinary Megaprojects Worldwide in 2021

China's Belt and Road Initiative one of the biggest megaprojects on the drawing board in 2021.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative will connect Iran with China and much more.

Impressive, Gigantic Megaprojects Around the World Being Built in 2020 and Beyond

Have you heard that a 200 km long series of subway tunnels are being built below Paris right now?   This is just one of the dozens of supersized, super expensive building projects that will transform the world’s cities.

Underneath the Paris streets, is the Grand Paris Express.  The current Paris subways are only about 10-15 meters deep, the project involves building more than 200 new kilometers of subway tracks 30-40 meters below the streets, allowing some of the outlying suburbs to get to the airport and major train stations without having to go through the city.

The Grand Paris Express is a series of more than 200 km of new subways that will run 30-40 meters below the ground in Paris. Megaprojects around the world
The Grand Paris Express is a series of more than 200 km of new subways that will run 30-40 meters below the ground in Paris.

The cost is $45 billion so far, and the series of new tracks will be opened up in stages. Part of the impetus for the plan was the 2024 Olympics which will be held in Paris.

The Grand Paris Express project will increase the Metro ridership by more than two million passengers per day. There is no ring road that circles Paris, and this is why they are building these extension and new lines, using 28 giant boring machines that lay down concrete just after boring the big holes for the train lines.

The project will also create a whopping 68 new above-ground Metro stations, some with up to ten stories of mezzanine being built underground.  Part of the Grand Paris Express will be completed by the 2024 Olympics.

Virgin Hyperloop in Dubai one of the many megaprojects underway around the world.
Virgin Hyperloop in Dubai, one of the many megaprojects underway around the world.

Streaking Across the Desert to Dubai

In Dubai, the talk of the Gulf is about the impressive Virgin Hyperloop, that will connect Abu Dhabi with Dubai, and reduce the travel time from 90 minutes by car to a mere 12 minutes by the 600 mph hyperloop train, that will run in a tunnel levitated inside above the all-electric tracks. 

However, due to the uncertainty in the Middle East oil economy, this project has stalled recently. The company has tested out the systems with passengers but they don’t expect service to begin until 2030. Still it’s chugging along and this will be built.

Unlike the Hyperloop being tested by Virgin in the U.S., Dubai’s version will consist of larger train cars with many seats, offering up to 10,000 people per hour to travel between the two cities. It’s a  150 km line and it’s projected to cost $22 billion.

China’s New Silk Road

China’s incredible Belt and Road Initiative will recreate the ancient Silk Road, and be the largest infrastructure project in history at a staggering $900 billion.  This is the biggest of all the megaprojects happening around the world in 2021.

Part of the massive bridge, tunnel, and road project is a new Polar Silk Road that will traverse a short cut through the Arctic in collaboration with Russia.

Another huge project being built now in China is a series of huge water tunnels that will move much-needed water from the south to the north of China, where there are more people.

Farringdon station on the new Elizabeth line under London. megaprojects
Farringdon station on the new Elizabeth line under London.

London’s Crossrail Project

Not to be outdone by their former allies across the English Channel, the United Kingdom is spending a similar amount of billions on the 41-station, $23 billion megaproject that focuses on the new Elizabeth line, beginning in 2019.

This 26-mile Crossrail Project will bring passengers on the new line by mid-2022, according to a January 2021 update.

Ten new stations will be built and the rest will connect to existing subway lines. More than 200 million riders will use these new lines underneath London in a few years, reducing congestion and improving mobility for the disabled.

Crossrail Limited is delivering the Elizabeth line – a new railway for London and the South East, running from Reading and Heathrow in the west, through 42km of new tunnels under London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. This is the largest infrastructure project in Europe.

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