Major Engineering Projects Backed by Entrepreneurs

While many of the world’s largest engineering projects are financed by governments or corporations, many more constructions and designs that are implemented in the United States rely on single donors. These civil engineering projects have changed how infrastructure is designed and constructed in subjects ranging from dams to professional football stadiums.

Taum Sauk Upper Reservoir Dike

taum sauk upper reservoir
Image from

The government has plenty of dams across the country that it is trying to repair or upgrade. When the Taum Sauk Upper Reservoir Dike in Missouri failed during 2005, it got little priority. Relying on private funds from Ozark/ASI and Fred Webber venture capital, this project seeks to repair a seven hundred foot stretch of a dam that released over a billion gallons of water into the nearby landscape. Though there was no damage to life or property, it represented a crucial undertaking to save the water resources.

The construction began with the intent of recycling as much existing building material as possible. Much of the new concrete pouring was used from old rubble. When finished, it will provide water resources to industries near the St. Louis area.

Dallas Cowboy’s Video Screen

cowboys stadium video screen
Image by Gold and the Game

If you know anything about professional football, you have probably heard about the controversy surrounding the Dallas Cowboy’s new video screen. Capable of blocking punt attempts, this twelve-hundred foot screen allows every person within the new two billion dollar stadium to be sure of every detail on the field. Yet getting this behemoth from the design floor to the roof of the stadium took a huge effort. The screen is self-cleaning, since the titanium dioxide that covers the screen uses sunlight to repel dirt. At over one million pounds, furthermore, it is held up by a seventy-foot steel support.

Investment came chiefly from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who gets a return on his investment by (among other things) charging one hundred dollars for a pizza in the luxury suites of the stadium.

Filtration Tunnel and Pump Station

louisville filtration tunnel pump station
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In Louisville, Kentucky, a project is changing the way that the population gets access to drinking water. The Filtration Tunnel and Pump Station, a rather pedestrian name for such a big plan, is hoping to utilize cheap materials like gravel to pull chemicals out of river and ground water. Since most Kentucky residents rely on the Ohio river for their drinking water, a source that is heavily congested by industrial run-off from mining operations in the Appalachian foothills, the project will be implemented on a water source that provides nearly one million people in the state with drinking, washing, and bathing water. Not only would it minimize chemical use, but also it would stabilize the water’s temperature and thus prevent water lines from failure.

Financed by the Louisville Water Company, this project can serve over fifty million gallons of water per day.

Dulles Airport Underground

dulles international airport
Image by ciron810 / Flickr

An airport’s main focus is air transportation, but getting passengers to their airplane requires transportation in and of itself. Dulles Airport, one of the busiest sky hubs in the world, revamped their internal transportation by installing a five-mile underground station in order to move tens of thousands of people each day.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority financed the project, a light rail that is a honeycomb of back-and-forth networks. A central station that is one hundred by twelve hundred feet is mostly underground, bearing the weight of passengers above it, connecting passengers to and from terminals. Looking up at the walls and ceiling does not provide much of an escape — it is mostly a jumble of concrete and steel cables — but in direct sunlight the station opens up and the multi-colored glass illuminates the entire area in a swath of colors. Passengers can use wireless Internet and cell phones when they descend into the sub-terminal.

Many large-scale engineering projects require significant donations and investments. These projects were no different, using funding by entrepreneurs to help get their massive projects off the ground.

About the Author: William Stevens is a writer and blogger who focuses in the field of engineering. This article was written to explain certain projects civil engineers face and to encourage further study in this field with a Masters Degree in Civil Engineering.