Kansai – Home to a World Wide Wonder
If you want to see a beautiful specimen of masterpiece construction then come to this artificially created island on Osaka Bay in Japan. Off the shore of Honshu, there is a beautifully created airport at Kansai, and is today a hub of all international airways. In fact come 2012 and Kansai could be the main centre for Peach, the first Japanese low cost air carrier.
Kansai or Kanku for the Japanese locals is a result of unbelievable engineering intelligence and constructional excellence and today the Kansai airport is certainly living up to the requirement of easing the load in the Osaka international airport. The origin of the airport is traced back to the situation in Kansai when the trading activities were reducing and so the engineering planners started the idea of an airport here. As the Osaka airport could not be extended any further, the next destination was near Kobe but Kobe city didn’t accept the plan so Kansai became the destination.
In this manner at Kansai, began a legendary wonder and a constructional masterpiece. With a 4 km long, island created artificially the 2.5km wide land had to be supervised by engineers to monitor the record of earthquakes, typhoons etc here. The year 1987, saw Kansai turning into a concrete hub with around 48,000 concrete blocks unloaded here. Landfill was obtained after excavating 21,000,00 m3 of three mountain areas. Around 10,000 workers worked and it took around 10 million hours and 3 years to complete layering the earth of 30m on the sea floor. In the year 1990, there was a bridge constructed here and this linked the place to the Rinku Town. The construction cost of the bridge was around 1 billion. The Osaka Prefecture increased and the Kagawa Prefecture came to be the smallest Japanese bay.
This ambitious project became very expensive when the anticipated level of sinking of the island exceeded and it sank 8m more than expected. This very expensive civil engineering excellence at Kansai took around 20 years to plan and 3 years to construct became the mother of all other airports that came up in Japan later. The year 1991 saw the construction of the airport terminals. As the island sank more than required, there were columns made to support the entire airport building. If necessary extension of these supports were possible by metal plates fixed below. The 1995 Kobe earthquake proved the strength of the Kansai construction as the airport remained unaffected in spite of the epicenter being around 20 km from Kansai.
When the American Society of Civil Engineers awarded the “Civil Engineering Monument of the Millennium” to the Kansai International Airport in the year 1991, all the efforts got paid off.
With a cost of 20 billion dollars already incurred, the two runways, the otherwise viewed geotechnical engineering disaster , this airport has stood all the sinking and the worries and today is one of the best wonders in the world.
If you want to see any architectural excellence being acknowledged by the American Civil Engineering Society, then read about the Kansai airport.