On every part of the planet, men and women are achieving the impossible. Mountains of earth are drilled, blasted and moved while massive structures are erected to tame and traverse great bodies of water. Join us for a globe-spanning look at some of the most astounding feats of EXTREME ENGINEERING as mankind soars to new heights of imagination and ingenuity in the struggle to meet the challenges of the modern world.
Widening the Panama Canal: Built more than 90 years ago, the canal was an engineering marvel, but to keep up with modern-day shipping demands, the old channel must be widened, presenting a mammoth set of challenges to the engineers and workmen.
Boston's Big Dig: One of the largest and most technically challenging infrastructure projects in American history, Boston's Big Dig encompasses an 8- to 10-lane-wide highway winding 120 feet underground through downtown Boston, a new tunnel beneath the city's harbor and the widest cable-stayed bridge in the world. After decades of planning and construction, this enormous undertaking promises to turn the bustling, congested "Bean Town" into a fast-moving city of tomorrow.
Building Hong Kong's Airport: When the citizens of Hong Kong needed a new international airport, they went 16 miles offshore to two islands that were then leveled and merged into one platform for a giant terminal and runway structure. And then a series of world-class highways, bridges and tunnels were created to connect the new airport to the city.
Tunneling Under the Alps: Deep below the scenic wonders of the Alps, an army of engineers and workers is creating the longest tunnel in the world in a hellish environment of deadly unstable rock and mud. When completed, the trans-alpine tunnel will turn the mountain range from a giant road block to a free- flowing corridor of goods and commerce moving across Europe.
Iceland Tunnels: On the desolate northeastern tip of Iceland, 100 miles south of the Arctic Circle, first-class excavation and construction crews, responsible for some of the greatest tunneling projects around the world, are attempting to burrow 45 miles and hundreds of feet underground in an audacious plan to turn ice into electricity.
Container Ships: Danish ship builders are attempting what was once unimaginable to their Viking forebears: to construct a monster container ship, a vessel, that when completed, will blow the rudders off the worldwide cargo shipping industry.
Oakland Bay Bridge: The new Bay Bridge will replace the most heavily traveled bridge in the United States: the spans linking San Francisco to Oakland and the East Bay. Now several years behind schedule, the pressure is on, but the unanticipated problems of building a $2.8 billion two-mile earthquake-proof road 300 feet in the air are tough to beat.
Venice Flood Gates: The engineers and builders are on a desperate mission...to keep Venice, Italy from becoming the next Atlantis. This enormous undertaking calls for 79 steel floodgates, each bigger than a football field and weighing over 300 tons.