Modern Wonders of the World

The American Society of Civil Engineers was formed in 1852 and is the longest standing society of engineers in America. Representing the profession and civil engineer professionals, the society also ranks architectural and engineering wonders of the modern world. Take a look at the seven wonders of the modern world as selected by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Learn About the Modern Wonders of the World

Channel Tunnel

The idea came from Albert Mathieu in 1802, but it wasn’t until 1994 that the channel tunnel was opened for transit. With two track lines, passenger trains zip past each other in tubes at a rate of 160 kilometers per hour. Stretching 50.5 kilometers (31.4 miles) in length, this tunnel connects Folkestone, Kent to Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais (England and France). It reaches as low as 250 feet deep and it boasts the lengthiest undersea section of all the tunnels in the world; the Chunnel, as it is affectionately termed, is truly one of the wonders of the modern world.

CN Tower

The famous CN Tower covers Toronto postcards and is a symbol of the Canadian metropolis. The 553.33 meters (1,815.4 feet) tall structure was the world’s highest freestanding building from 1976 until 2007. It was and is still used as a communications tower for radio, television, and cellular companies. The 147-floor tower also showcases an observation deck that offers stunning views of the city below. Over two million people visit each year; upon first glance, it’s easy to understand why it’s been chosen as one of the modern wonders of the world. It is undoubtedly Canada’s most famed piece of architecture.

Empire State Building

This structure with the famous antenna spire is a symbol of New York City, the Big Apple. Immediately after construction finished in 1931, the Empire State Building was heralded as one of the greatest achievements in human history. It ranked as the world’s tallest structure from 1931 until 1970. This 381 meters (1,250 feet) tall building sits on Fifth Avenue near West 34th Street in Manhattan and is known for its charming and bold art-deco design. Its observation deck features breathtaking panoramic vistas of Manhattan and New York City.

Golden Gate Bridge

Stretching across the Golden Gate strait and connecting San Francisco to Marin County, there are few more glorious scenes in the United States than watching the sun set behind this gorgeous red bridge. When construction commenced in 1937 and the bridge opened for traffic, it was the longest suspension bridge on the planet, a position it held at 4,200 feet (1,280 meters) until 1964. It is built of steel and is widely used for tourist and commute reasons. The Golden Gate Bridge sees roughly 110,000 vehicles cross it every day.

Itaipu Dam

Absolutely one of the modern wonders of the world, the Itaipu Dam sits between Paraguay and Brazil. No other hydroelectric facility on earth generates more energy. In fact, about 90% of the electricity utilized in Paraguay and nearly 20% of that used in Brazil comes from this dam. It possesses a length of 7,919 meters (25,981 feet) and a height of 196 meters (643 feet). It uses water from the Parana River. “Itaipu” means “the sounding stone” in the local Guarani language. One visit and it’s easy to understand why it’s called that.

Delta Works

Also known as the Netherlands North Sea Protection Works, this project is one of the seven modern wonders that has not technically been completed. It is an ongoing process. Over 30% of the Netherlands rests below sea level. For this reason, the project has been undertaken to protect that significant portion of land from the sea. The area, known as the Rhin-Meuse-Scheldt or Helenium river delta, is being helped by dams, floodgates, levees, dykes, and storm surge barriers. Perhaps the most impressive section finished in 1986; it’s a two-mile surge barrier that made use of 65 piers of concrete that each were 18,000 tons. The scale of the project alone makes one sit in awe.

Panama Canal

While France starting erecting the canal in 1881, they stopped due to the high death toll and issues with construction. America picked up where France left off in 1904 and the canal was finally finished by 1914, 34 years later. Altogether, about 80,000 lives were taken during the construction – the majority from illness and disease. Dashing across the Isthmus of Panama, it can take 20 to 30 hours to pass this canal, but it sheds 12,875 kilometers (8000 miles) of travel time as it expertly links the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. For that reason, it is a vital piece of engineering for international maritime trade. In total, the canal spans 77 kilometers (48 miles).

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