As Old As Time
The ancient Egyptians used pyramids to memorialize themselves, but significant structures were not confined to them. Megaprojects are not accessible in today’s society; they cost billions of dollars.
In reality, spending a ton of money on these projects doesn’t guarantee their success. A failed megaproject’s consequences are rarely pretty. We’ve compiled a list of the most expensive megaprojects ever to fail.
Ghost Cities, China
When dozens of “ghost cities” began to appear in China in the early 2000s, there were numerous theories about why they were established. The grandeur and magnitude of the structures reveal their cost, although many have stood unused for years after completion.
The expenditures would be difficult to recover without residents. Recent statistics indicate that these iconic buildings are gradually becoming occupied by tenants, perhaps as a result of a supply and demand imbalance.
Forest City, Malaysia
Malaysian Forest City was envisioned as a sophisticated but durable megaproject with an integrated ecological system. This was supposed to increase Chinese immigration to Malaysia. A report indicated that approximately 500 to 1000 people had moved in due to political interference and interminable obstacles.
The half-million people expected to live there is still a long way off. Despite being situated adjacent to Singapore, this project was a colossal disaster.
The James Webb Space Telescope, USA
The James Webb Space Telescope billed as the world’s largest and most groundbreaking undertaking, cost a whopping $9 billion. It has subsequently run into an infinite succession of kinks and operational problems, but if it succeeds, it will profoundly transform the world of stargazing.
The expenditure was so substantial that it was declared “too big to fail” from the start, but now it is only a question of time if this audacious disaster will ever warrant its cost.
The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, USA
The development of this massive undertaking started in the early 1930s. Despite the fact that the bridge was designed to survive seismic activity, the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989 caused a substantial piece of it to crumble.
A massive renovation began in 2002 and has since been marred by numerous incidents and conflicts. The landmark structure has been dubbed a catastrophic flop by many, with the restoration solely reaching well over $5 billion.
Interstate H-3, USA
This roadway was an enormous flop due to constant opposition from environmentalists, constant setbacks, and an ultimate installation that cost five times its original estimated cost.
Despite the fact that it was finished and operational, the construction took over 30 years, and it ran into a lot of criticism. This gorgeous route, which was blasted by both residents and foreigners, was eventually unable to rationalize its total cost, which was more than a billion dollars.
The Ciudad Real International Airport, Spain
The grandiose airport, which was advertised as a centerpiece for European tourists, got everything wrong. From funding to setting, nothing went as planned, and the venture was eventually shelved. Instead of the gorgeous and lively airport imagined, the owning company has lost it all and went out of business.
Nowadays, it barely registers as a place to park airplanes, far from being the opulent headquarters of the world’s major airlines. With a loss of more than a billion euros, it’s easy to say that this infrastructure project was a colossal failure.
The Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository, USA
This enormous venture, located 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, was supposed to be the ultimate destination for all of America’s nuclear waste. The initiative was frequently put on hold and downvoted by a nearly unanimous vote of no confidence.
The program’s highly charged nature made it a thorny issue that never seemed to go away. It is now discarded, and scientists agree that subsurface excavations are still the safest alternative for nuclear waste disposal.
Arena da Amazônia, Brazil
As Brazil held the 2014 Fifa World Cup, the venue was extensively acclaimed as a revolutionary football arena. Its idea and development were always regarded as contentious, with no practical application or value outside of the World Cup. (https://wellyx.com/)
The excruciating heat made playing virtually impossible, and the stadium’s 43000 seat occupancy was never adequate to cover the cost of construction. Today, the stadium hardly accommodates any competitive matches beyond the fourth division, which is an incredibly odd fate for a World Cup venue.
Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, Sri Lanka
Following the end of Sri Lanka’s devastating civil war in 2009, the nation’s newly elected president dreamed of building an international airport. The island only had one international airport which was located in Colombo. Thus, it made perfect economic sense to build another one to aid the country’s economy.
The airport’s $200 billion price tag became a catastrophic flop with worldwide political intervention, fraud, and local backlash. It became renowned as the “world’s emptiest airport” after seeing little to no plane activity.
The Superconducting Super Collider, USA
The search for the famed Higgs Boson particle was in full force from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. The notion of developing the world’s largest supercollider brought together American physicists and the government at first.
Before the project concluded in 1993, a site in Texas was confirmed, and $2 billion was invested. Budgetary restrictions forced its retirement, paving the door for CERN’s Large Hadron Collider to win the prize after discovering the Higgs particle in 2012.
The Ryugyong Hotel, North Korea
This extravagant hotel, which cost over half a billion dollars and accounted for 2% of North Korea’s GDP, was doomed. The project, which began in the early 1990s, had 105 stories and an ornate pyramid shape.
When the Soviet Union fell apart, North Korea’s economy deteriorated as a result, and the project was put on hold forever. Attempts to resume the project were unsuccessful, and it remains unfinished to this day.
Boston Big Dig, USA
Everything went wrong here, from the development to the scoping. It was supposed to be a warm-up for the largest highway construction project in American history. Instead, the project has been widely criticized due to cost extra costs and a huge tunnel collapse in 2006.
Despite the fact that the excavation was completed in 2007, the project went approximately seven times over budget, costing a stunning $14 billion. When completed, the project is expected to cost more than $20 billion.
Trans-European Transport Network, Europe
The goal of this multi-faceted initiative is to modernize Europe’s rail and road transportation systems. The project, which is expected to cost half a trillion euros, is the costliest in world history.
Numerous problems have already arisen due to bottlenecking and budget constraints, and the jury is yet out on whether this one will be a success. In any case, it isn’t easy to see how any rewards of success could ever justify such a high price. Only time will tell if this is true.
More To Come
The passing of time will not be able to satisfy humanity’s unquenchable thirst for more extensive and more expensive undertakings. Thousands of megaprojects are now under construction worldwide, with many more planned for the future.
It’s difficult to predict how many of these will ever see the light of day or warrant their exorbitant expenses amid the pandemic’s devastation and the world’s uncertainty with the possibility of world war looming over us.