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Japan is filled with a plethora of expensive and innovative engineering marvels, but not all of the country’s major infrastructure projects have gone according to plan. The Kansai International Airport might be one of the biggest blunders in Japan’s engineering history. It’s built of reclaimed land in Osaka Bay, and it’s sinking into the water. Engineers always expected the island to sink a bit, but they seriously underestimate just how much the airport’s artificial islands would sink. By 2056, some experts believe that the airport will reach sea level, which will pose a significant risk to the airport terminals and runways. So far, engineers have come up with a few innovative solutions to slow down the sinking, but these are just stopgap measures. The airport might continue to sink for 100 years or more, but if the speed of sinking accelerates the airport will likely have to be abandoned. Construction of the Kansai International Airport began way back in 1987, and the project was originally supposed to cost about $8 billion. However, the total cost to build the airport has since skyrocketed to $20 billion because of all the costly repairs. Iron plates under the foundation and a stronger seawall are two of the ways engineers are improving the Kansai International Airport. These measures should slow down the rate at which the airport is sinking. Here’s a look at Japan’s $20-billion floating airport and what’s being done to stop it from sinking. Keep watching to find out more about the Kansai International Airport.
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Written by: Rob Cramer
Narrated by: Adam Newmark
Edited by: Danila Fel
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00:42 Offshore Construction
04:37 Airport Expansion
05:18 Engineering Mistakes
06:18 Fixing the Problem”