Largest Construction Projects In The U.S.
The largest construction projects in the U.S. include ongoing as well as completed works. They include airport expansions, updates, and modifications, transportation infrastructure, and, of course, enormous buildings erected with astonishing speed.
We thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the largest construction projects in the United States. This list gives us all a chance to marvel at the science, technology, ingenuity, and creativity that goes into big builds.
Every built structure — even the smallest and most compact — is in many ways a testament to the human inspiration and problem-solving ability. There are a lot of ways in which smaller structures require more construction ingenuity and problem-solving than larger ones.
In other words, every construction project has its unique challenges and hurdles to overcome. Still, we can’t help but be impressed by the sheer mind-boggling enormity of the construction projects on our list.
This is not a comprehensive accounting — just some of the largest construction projects in the U.S. and those we find most fascinating as builders ourselves.
Give Storee Construction a call if you have a project in mind and need an experienced and expert contractor to help see it through to completion. Unlike some of the items on our list, we’ll get your job site rolling — on time and foot-long budget.
And so, without further ado, here’s an alphabetical list of some of …
The Largest Construction Industry Projects in the U.S.
Alaskan Way Viaduct (State Route 99 tunnel)
The State Route 99 tunnel in Seattle, Washington, was completed with the help of Bertha, which was at the time the largest-diameter tunnel boring machine in the world. The completed tunnel opened in 2019, carrying a section of SR99 beneath downtown Seattle.
The original Alaskan Way Viaduct was torn down at a cost of about $100 million, chosen to be replaced due to its age and potential inability to survive an earthquake.
Total cost: About $3.3 billion.
‘Big Dig’ (Central Artery/Tunnel Project)
The Central Artery/Tunnel Project (CA/T), most commonly known as the “Big Dig” was the most expensive highway project in the United States. And that was without all the cost overruns, delays, leaks, and other problems that plagued the dig.
Intended to bury a portion of Interstate 93 as it passed through Boston, planning for the CA/T began way back in 1982 and the project was completed in 2007.
As the Associated Press reported at the time, “When the clock runs out on 2007, Boston will quietly mark the end of one of the most tumultuous eras in the city’s history: The Big Dig, the nation’s most complex and costliest highway project, will officially come to an end.”
According to The Boston Globe, the dig project ultimately cost $22 billion — an amount that won’t bet paid off until 2038.
The good news, however, is that “traffic has indeed sped up in downtown Boston, and the city itself looks more attractive.”
CityCenter is a mixed-use complex comprising nearly 17 million square feet of Las Vegas real estate. Spread over 76 acres on the Las Vegas strip, it is the largest privately funded construction project in American history.
Developed by MGM Resorts International and Dubai World, it opened to great fanfare in 2009. Comprising multiple properties and projects, it saw many delays and several deaths during its construction.
One entire property — The Harmon — was constructed and then demolished ultimately torn down again after investigations and inspections found defects in its construction.
Evergreen Point Floating Bridge
Seattle boasts another one of America’s largest construction projects: the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge across Lake Washington (officially named the Gov. Albert D. Rosellini Bridge). It’s more than 7,700 feet long, and it’s the longest and widest floating bridge — not just in the U.S. but in the world.
Budgeted at about $4.5 billion, the bridge floats on 77 concrete pontoons secured to the bottom of Lake Washington by 58 anchors. Each anchor has 3-inch-thick, 1,000-foot-long steel cables.
How — you might ask — does this enormous structure float? It goes back to what we stated at the outset: creativity, ingenuity — and science.
“The idea of building a bridge out of massive floating chunks of concrete may sound crazy,” writes Atlas Obscura, “but each pontoon has a watertight compartment — remotely monitored to detect any leaks — and the weight of the water displaced by the pontoons is equal to the weight of the structure and all the traffic on it, allowing the bridge to float.”
O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP)
Designed to expand capacity and improve the traveler experience, the O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP) is the largest and most expensive construction project in the airport’s history.
The total estimated cost of the O’Hare 20-year Master Plan was $13.3 billion, according to the Federal Aviation Administration in 2005, when the project was approved. When completed, the airfield will have been reconfigured and will include four new runways. The terminals will also undergo expansion and makeovers.
The City of Chicago reported that “when the OMP is complete, O’Hare will have eight runways: six east-west parallel runways and two crosswind runways. … Once complete, the OMP will create up to 195,000 new jobs and add $18 billion to our region’s economy.”
Ohio River Bridges Project
Constructed to alleviate gridlock in one of the most infamous “spaghetti junction” interchanges in the nation, the Ohio River Bridges Project is the biggest transportation project ever conceived and implemented between the states of Kentucky and Indiana.
The cost: an estimated $2.5 billion and the displacement of hundreds of residents and dozens of businesses. The result: two new bridges over the Ohio River, tunnels, and a reconstruction of the Kennedy Interchange (the aforementioned “spaghetti junction”).