Top North American Large Infrastructure Projects to Watch
As the world’s population rises, so too does the need for additional infrastructure. This has led to a greater number of large infrastructure projects, which in turn has led to a greater need for land surveying and engineering services. These projects range from roads and highways to oil and gas pipelines and other energy related structures. When completed, many of these projects will have a huge impact not just on the local communities but in some cases all of North America and even the world.
While there are a number of impressive infrastructure projects, these are some of the most current and exciting projects that are either underway or close to being started:
- The $6.2 billion Dulles Transit Extension in Washington, D.C. started in 2008 is the largest Metro system expansion in the city’s history. Mostly above-ground public transportation, it will provide access from Downtown D.C. to Dulles Airport and North Virginia suburbs. One intent is to reduce traffic congestion on the Beltway.
- The $746 million Lone Star Transmission Competitive Renewable Energy Zone 345-KV Electric Transmission Line is Texas’ largest single transmission project. It consists of 320 miles of new lines. Six hundred seventy-one parcels are crossed by the new lines. Three 345kV substations and two compensation stations are part of the construction. Ten million dollars in property tax revenue will be generated in the first operation year.
- The estimated $2.5 billion Crescent Corridor Expansion is an aggressive series of freight rail projects running from New Orleans to New Jersey through thirteen states. Intermodal terminals and approximately 300 miles of track is planned. Freight companies desire cost savings while achieving the removal of interstate congestion and pollution. The upgrade depends on public funding, and is tentatively scheduled for completion by 2030.
- The $3.1 billion Alaskan Way Viaduct project is intended to strengthen Seattle’s iconic double-decker, elevated highway that runs through downtown, adjacent to the Puget Sound. A 2001 earthquake damaged an already weakened structure. Replacing the viaduct is more cost-effective than repairing it. Initial debate about replacing the elevated roadway with a tunnel delayed the project. The tunnel will create more open space along the waterfront and the south portion of roadway will be rebuilt. Both structures are designed to withstand a 9.0 earthquake. The 2015 completion date may be delayed however, due to the immense tunnel boring machine breaking down and sitting inactive for months.
- Although no longer a US territory, the 99-year old Panama Canal is currently undergoing a $5.25 billion expansion. Three 1,400-foot long by 180-foot wide by 60-foot deep locks will be added to each end and the Atlantic end will be dredged. Strict environmental and reforestation phases are part of the project. The upgrade that will accommodate larger container vessels is hailed by the largest global shipping companies. Begun in 2007, the Canal Expansion Program has become a major trainer and employer of land surveyors, engineers, inspectors, and others.
- The $5.3-billion Alberta, Canada to Nebraska Keystone XL oil pipeline has been a political issue for many years. The project that potentially provides the US decades of fuel, extends the existing Keystone pipeline carrying Canadian crude oil and diluted bitumen to Nebraska and Illinois to continue to other Midwest and Texas Gulf refineries and saltwater ports. The Contractor says the pipeline is the safest ever built. Environmentalists and alternative energy advocates are not convinced and there have been spill prevention, leakage, and potable water concerns among communities along the route.
For more information about land surveying for large infrastructure projects, please feel free to contact us. Landpoint has extensive experience with various infrastructure projects, especially when it comes to oil and gas.
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