Embabeh Bridge, Egypt - 1889
Stretching half a kilometre, the Embabeh Bridge was once the most important bridge on the African continent, linking the southern railway on the west bank of the Nile with the city of Cairo. It was a landmark project for us – our first overseas commission, received in 1889. We designed the new bridge which, it is said, made a great impression on Gustave Eiffel who evaluated the design. By easing movement of goods into and out of the city by train, the bridge opened up new opportunities for trade and prosperity. Today the bridge retains its importance for the economy and for the people. Not only is it a much-loved landmark, it is the only railway bridge across the Nile in Cairo, transporting people and goods in an efficient and cost effective way, making lives easier and safer.
Port of Aratu, Brazil - 1952
Aratu on the north-east coast of Brazil is among the largest petrochemical ports in South America. We were involved in the design and construction of the port which opened in 1975. It has four terminals equipped for bulk solids, liquids and gases enabling it to handle a wide range of products including minerals, petrochemicals and finished industrial goods. The port has been crucial for the economic development of the region, attracting industry and bringing jobs and prosperity. Worldwide we are responsible for around a third of all port and maritime-related projects, recognised for our expertise and also for our commitment to improve performance, energy efficiency, environmental standards and safety.
Schiphol Airport, the Netherlands - 1967
Our initial involvement with Amsterdam Schiphol Airport dates back to the 1950s and we have continued to work for the airport assisting with its growth and development since the official opening in 1967. It’s not just that numbers have grown – in 2014 55 million passengers travelled via Schiphol – attitudes and expectations have changed too. People want their journey to be pleasant and relaxing. That means that the airport needs good transport connections, minimal queues, short transfer times and confidence in the baggage handling system. Schiphol’s success is good for the wider economic health of the country, so as we look forward to the next 50 years, we are continually seeking new and better ways to future-proof the airport.
Bangabandhu Bridge, Bangladesh - 1986
The mighty Jamuna River divides the north of Bangladesh into two halves, cutting off the remote north-western region from the economic heartland and the capital Dhaka. When the Bangabandhu Bridge across the river opened in 1998, it changed people’s lives. No longer did they need to queue for ferries, but could transport their produce quickly and easily across the country. Five kilometres long, the bridge carries a four-lane road, a railroad, natural gas pipeline and power lines. We were the lead partner on this project and provided a feasibility study, detailed design and assistance with the tender process. Just as important as the bridge were the river works to protect it from damage during high tides. Now the bridge is playing a role in even wider opportunities for trade. It is located on routes which, when fully developed, will provide uninterrupted road and railway links from South East Asia through Central Asia to North-west Europe.
New International Airport, Mexico
Everything about the new airport planned for Mexico City is impressive. It will be one of the largest and most sustainable in the world and, when complete, will have capacity to handle 120 million passengers every year. We are part of the team which has designed the terminal and are also responsible for designing the airside and support facilities. Not only will the new airport play a vital role in local and national development, it will be an inspiration for future airports – efficient, flexible and providing a great experience for passengers.
Blackburn pedestrian Bridge, South Africa
Every day children in Blackburn village near Durban in South Africa used to put their lives at risk as they travelled to school. Their journey involved crossing a major national road and, with around 500 people crossing morning and night, the accident rate for the area was unacceptably high. A new pedestrian bridge was completed in time for the FIFA 2010 World Cup and now provides safe passage for the local population. It is one of the longest cable-stayed pedestrian bridges in Africa. As well as designing the bridge, we ensured that the community felt a real sense of connection with the project and got them involved through activities including a local soccer tournament and school bridge building contest. From bridges to roads and tunnels, projects like this are connecting people everywhere, bringing safety, convenience and new economic opportunities.
Canary Wharf underground station, United Kingdom
More than 40 million people pass through Canary Wharf Underground station every year, making it one of the busiest stations outside central London. We designed the station in the 1990s in collaboration with architects Norman Foster and Partners. It is London’s largest and most complex underground station and was designed to accommodate predicted passenger numbers of 50,000 per day. In fact, just seven years after opening in 1999, the actual numbers were considerably higher at 70,000 per day. Future proofing is a very important part of our approach to projects as is evident from our input into Canary Wharf station where we designed in the flexibility to meet new or changing demands. As a result, the experience of passengers at the station has not been affected by the higher than predicted daily throughput. Canary Wharf has been voted Britain’s best-loved tube station.
Port of Duqm, Oman
The Port of Duqm is seen as a game changer for Oman’s economy, enabling long-term sustainability by diversifying away from energy and construction. Duqm had been little more than a windswept fishing village before the construction of the port which is bringing jobs and financial security to local communities. We were closely involved in every aspect of the planning, design and construction of what is now a world-class port strategically located for the busy shipping routes between Europe, Africa and Asia. The port opens the way for further development of the region, with plans including a refinery, airport, fisheries, and tourist resorts.
The opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 had a huge impact on shipping times. Instead of taking two weeks to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the journey could be made in under a day. The number of ships using the canal grew rapidly and, in 2006, a plan for expansion was proposed. We managed the early stages of the programme to establish a new lane with its own wider and deeper locks. The newly-expanded canal opened in 2016 with twice the original capacity and the ability to accommodate larger ships carrying twice as much cargo. The benefits of the project aid the global economy through faster transit and reduced fuel costs, while the increased revenues generated within Panama support investment in the country.
Prosperity through mobility, South Africa
Poor roads and a treacherous river crossing served to isolate the Makhosaneni area of South Africa, deepening rural poverty and leading young people to move away in search of better opportunities. For many years we have been involved with an award-winning project to upgrade local roads and construct a new high-level bridge over the Hlambanyathi River. Alongside the project, we ran a training programme for unskilled workers. The result has improved lives in the rural communities through easier and safer transport connections while raising economic prospects as a result of the transfer of skills to local residents.