Masterpieces of Hydraulic Engineering

On an overpopulated planet, with an area covered by 70% of water – it is estimated that there are about 1.4 billion of km3 – but where only 0.3% of it is suitable for consumption and agriculture, it is not strange that a large number of Inge’s projects Made by the human being have aimed at developing related infrastructures, in one way or another, with this vital substance. Dams, aqueducts, dikes, canals, docks, sluices, Central… Hundreds of hydraulic works are planned and built each year, some of which, due to their dimensions or the difficulties and obstacles they must overcome, are considered as authentic masterpieces of engineering. These must be added to those related to transport which, as in the case of bridges and ports, has the water as the axis of its development. Below are some of the most amazing and amazing that can be found around the world.

1. Magdeburg Boat Bridge

The Magdeburg Aqueduct, inaugurated in 2003, is a colossal structure that connects the Elba-Havel channel with the Mittelland channel, significantly streamlining the transit of commercial boats between the two routes. With its 34 m wide and 918 m long, in addition to a depth of 4.25 m, the Kanalbrücke Magdeburg is the largest river traffic bridge in the world. Its construction cost more than 500 million euros and it was used 24,000 tons of steel and almost 70,000 m3 of reinforced concrete.

2. Maeslantkering: The dike protecting Rotterdam

Rotterdam, in addition to being one of the most populous cities in the Netherlands, is the most commercially-traded port in Europe. Its location in a polder, however, has always made it live under the threat of flooding. To avoid this, as a final point to a global security plan for the Dutch coast, in the decade of the 90 was built the Maeslantkering, a mobile defense dam. Its floodgates are floating pontoons which, in case of danger, are filled with water forming a gigantic barrier. The infrastructure, along with other dams, was put to the test on the occasion of the Great storm that took place on November 8, 2007.

3. Falkirk Forklift Wheel

The ship elevators are engineering works that, like the sluices, allow the transit between channels located at different heights. They are not a modern invention because they have existed since the eighteenth century, although they are becoming more sophisticated and spectacular. A good example is the Falkirk Wheel, which connects two navigation channels near the Scottish population. This elevator is the only one in the world that is revolving-the rest are vertical-and lift boats up to a height of 24 m. The wheel, whose design is inspired by the Celtic axe, has a diameter of 35 m and consists of two arms subject to an axis. In the center of each arm hole there is a gondola with a capacity of 300 m3. The boats are placed in these gondolas and, when the shaft is turned, they remain horizontal thanks to a bearing system.

4. Kuala Lumpur dual SMART Tunnel

Bridge over troubled water

In addition to “smart” in English, smart stands for the Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel, a tunnel opened in 2007 in the Malaysian capital to avoid sudden flooding, but has also allowed for more fluidity in road traffic and Decongest the center of the city. The structure can perform both functions simultaneously. The tunnel is almost 10 kilometres long and when a barrage strikes the city – a rather frequent situation – it receives the water that the river cannot capture and channels it to some deposits. This avoids its overflow. The asphalted part, only for cars, has two floors, each one for a direction of the walk, and is located along 3 km above the aquifer channel.

5. Hoover dam over the Colorado River

Although built more than 80 years ago, the Hoover Dam remains a masterpiece of modern engineering and architecture, as well as a symbol of America’s industrial development in the twentieth century. Located just over 50 km from the city of Las Vegas, this gigantic work of reinforced concrete was erected during the Great Depression to solve different problems that the region suffered, such as the increasing need for potable water and electricity supply on the part of California or the catastrophic overflows of the Colorado River. With an area of 640 km2, a maximum depth of 180 m and a capacity of more than 35,000 km3, the construction of a work of such dimensions was only possible thanks to the effort of more than 20,000 workers, much of which were left in it life.

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