Best City For Civil Engineers – Famous architectural designs, hydropower and ambitious railway projects have put Australian and New Zealand engineering on the map.
Australia and New Zealand are full of engineering marvels, old and new, but not all of them are universally recognized.
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To celebrate its 200th anniversary, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) asked members to vote for their top civil engineering projects from around the world. These are some of the projects from this corner of the world that have caught people’s attention and made it into the organization’s top projects list.
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In the year Opened in 1973, the Sydney Opera House is one of the most famous buildings in the world, thanks to its unique profile. The sails were a particularly challenging part of the building.
It took the design team four years to come up with a practical solution to build. After studying several options, they decided on a series of arches made of concrete ribs arranged in an apparently uniform sphere. To save time and money, the shells are made on site in a purpose-built factory. At the end of the project, the factory produced 2400 concrete ribs and 4000 roof tiles.
The Sydney Opera House took over ten years to complete and is now a Sydney icon. It was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.
At 1020 meters long, the bridge is the second longest road bridge in New Zealand. It was opened in 1959 and by 1965, 10 million vehicles were traveling annually.
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Many of the bridge’s components were pre-assembled to save time and reduce logistical issues. Large steel truss sections for the bridge were partially installed on the beach and then floated on construction barges.
The bridge has undergone several renovations over the years, including a 1969 expansion that doubled the width from four to eight lanes. This was done using “clip on” box grommet extensions. A skyway for pedestrians and cyclists was approved in 2016, but has yet to be built.
Today, the Auckland Harbor Bridge is a vital transport link and has opened up the area for expansion and economic development.
New Zealand’s investment began 100 years ago when the country’s government built a small 100 kW generator at Okere Falls near Rotorua in 1901.
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The first major hydroelectric plant came in 1914 when the Lake Coleridge scheme was opened. Since then, more than 100 hydropower plants have been built. The largest is the Manapuri plant, which required engineers to excavate nearly 1.4 million tons of hard rock to build the engine room and 10-kilometer tail tunnel.
Nestled in the snowy mountains of eastern Australia is what many believe is the country’s largest engineering project. In the year Built between 1949 and 1974, the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme includes 16 dams, seven power stations, two pumping stations and 225 km of tunnels, pipelines and aqueducts.
The Iceberg Plan was an important part of Australia’s economic and social recovery after the Second World War. It is the largest public works engineering project undertaken in Australia and employs over 100,000 people from over 30 countries.
The scheme currently provides 30 per cent of renewable energy for Australia’s east coast, and water for irrigation in New South Wales and Victoria.
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The project has garnered many awards over the years, including one of the Civil Engineering Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. It was also added to Australia’s National Heritage List in 2016.
The Sydney Metro project, once complete, will connect nearly 70 kilometers of fully automated rail lines under Sydney streets through 31 stations.
Phase 1 of the project should open in 2019. Stage 2, which opens in 2024, will be an extension of Stage 1 and will include a line under Sydney Harbour. The project also includes 15.5km of twin tunnels, the longest in Australia.
The project will use five tunnel boring machines (TBMs), one of which is 120 meters long and weighs 900 tons, specially designed to excavate under the port.
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The new Metro has a capacity of 40,000 passengers per hour – almost double the capacity of the current Sydney system.
The project had one goal: to provide broadband to everyone in New Zealand as quickly as possible. Now, seven years down the road, the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) initiative is nearing completion.
The NZ$1.78 billion project will work to bring a fiber network to 87 percent of the county’s population by 2022.
The main goal of the release is to connect remote and rural communities. To date, the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) – part of the UFB program – has connected 300,000 rural households and businesses. Engineers upgraded 1,200 communication centers to upgrade fixed-line broadband, built 150 new rural telephone lines and upgraded 400 existing ones.
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The third arm of the project, the Mobile Black Spot Fund (MBSF), works to improve mobile coverage on state highways and popular tourist destinations.
When the rollout is complete, UFB organizers predict it will place New Zealand in the top five OECD countries for fiber access and use.
This 2979 km transcontinental railway line crosses the red center of Australia and connects two opposite coasts. If it sounds like a difficult project to complete, it was – construction began in 1878 and wasn’t completed until 2004.
From the beginning, financial and political problems caused the railway to be built in its infancy. From 1878 to 1911, the railway only extended to the small town of Oodnadatta until it was extended to Alice Springs in 1929. It was only in 1970 that there was renewed talk of extending the road north to Darwin, and another 20 years before that. Work has started on the last part of the railway line.
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Engineers and developers had to contend with harsh environments and high temperatures, which led to many innovations. The line uses pressed steel sleepers for the track – the first of its kind to be used in Australia. In addition, the engineers had to find materials that could withstand the scorching heat and intense sunlight.
The first train traveled from Alice Springs to Darwin in 2004. Since then, nearly 500,000 people have traveled 54 hours, 2979 km from Adelaide to Darwin. The line has transported more than 10 million tons of minerals and other cargo.
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