The Ten Coolest Public Works Projects Of Recent Years

The WPA isn't around anymore, but there are still crazy public works projects going up all over the world. Jalopnik readers picked out the ten coolest transportation-related engineering feats of recent years, just to prove that mankind isn't over the hill.

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Photo Credit: Dave Wilson

The Ten Coolest Public Works Projects Of Recent Years

10.) Liège-Guillemins Railway Station

Suggested By: koishki

Why it's awesome: First of all, take one look at this train station in Liège, Belgium. It was actually constructed on top of the existing station, as the transportation hub had to remain functional during the build. It was opened in '09 and now serves as one of the three high-speed rail stations in Belgium.

Photo Credit: Kristo

The Ten Coolest Public Works Projects Of Recent Years

9.) Mike O'Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge

Suggested By: Shelton Nephin

Why it's awesome: Part of the $240 million highway project to connect Arizona and Nevada while bypassing the Hoover Dam, this bridge is the second-highest in the US, and it has the widest concrete arch in the Western Hemisphere. It was opened in 2010.

Photo Credit: Dr. JS (addicated to vantage tamron glasses)

The Ten Coolest Public Works Projects Of Recent Years

8.) Shrinking Detroit

Suggested By: Autojunkie

Why it's awesome: Efforts to address Detroit's declining population are perhaps best described as city planning and not public works, but it's a meaningful and fascinating subject, and certainly related to transportation in America. The goal is to re-concentrating the city to consolidate its many vacant homes into a denser, safer urban area, something that we are not used to as a society.

Photo Credit: ThunderKiss Photography

The Ten Coolest Public Works Projects Of Recent Years

7.) Storseisundet Bridge

Suggested By: dmbolf

Why it's awesome: As we all know, the Storseisundetbrua connects the island of Averøya to the Romsdal peninsula in Norway. The trick of its cantilever construction is that you can't really see the other side of the bridge as you approach it. The whole thing looks more like a ramp leading to your freezing death in the waters below.

Photo Credit: Dalia Gecevičiūtė

The Ten Coolest Public Works Projects Of Recent Years

6.) The Big Dig

Suggested By: Picklehaube

Why it's awesome: Four people died over the course of the Big Dig's construction, and it is the most expensive single highway project in the nation. Overbudget doesn't begin to describe how expensive this thing was, and some estimates put the cost at $22 billion. The goal was to drop the elevated roads of Boston underground, and build a bridge at the end, all in one of the densest and oldest cities in America. It opened over three years, with the last ramp taking traffic in 2006.

Photo Credit: Oliver Rich

5.) Falkirk boat wheel

Suggested By: ptm7298

Why it's awesome: It's just about the coolest lock in existence. Canal boats are lifted eight stories into the air from one canal to the other, a process that used to be completed with 11 different locks. It was opened in 2002.

The Ten Coolest Public Works Projects Of Recent Years

4.) Magdeburg Water Bridge

Suggested By: CocheseUGA

Why it's awesome: See how there's one line of blue crossing over another line of blue? That's a bridge of water crossing over the Elbe River in Magdeburg, Germany. Put simply, it's an aqueduct that ships can go on, but "water bridge" sounds cooler. It opened in 2003.

Photo Credit: Google Maps

3.) Jiaozhou Bay Bridge

Suggested By: LyleLanley

Why it's awesome: This is the world's longest bridge over water. It's so big (26.4mi), there's a highway interchange on it. Also known as the Qingdao Haiwan Bridge, it connects the city of Qingdao with the district and island across the Jiaozhou bay. It opened in 2011.

The Ten Coolest Public Works Projects Of Recent Years

2.) Øresund Bridge

Suggested By: MooseKnuckles

Why it's awesome: Connecting Malmö, Sweden to Copenhagen, the Øresund bridge runs five miles to an artificial island, then plunges underground to finish the rest of the way in a tunnel. It opened in 2000.

Photo Credit: TimoOK

The Ten Coolest Public Works Projects Of Recent Years

1.) International Space Station

Suggested By: fanoblack

Why it's awesome: Until we have a moon base, you're not going to top the International Space Station for insane publics works projects. It's been occupied for not-quite 12 years now, and hopefully it has a few more decades in it before the Supreme Pan-Continental Super-Government sends it crashing down into the ocean.

Photo Credit: NASA