Delta Project an engineering marvel (Engineering College Chennai - torontosun)
Some have called it the eighth wonder of the world. The huge storm surge barrier in Zeeland province, known as the Delta Project, was designed to prevent another major flood like the one that occurred in 1953, in which 1,835 people died.
But this unique hydraulic engineering project, that took 13 years to build at a whopping cost of 3.6 billion euros, is also a major tourist attraction.
Visitors can actually walk inside the structure, one of the largest of its kind, or see it by boat. Particularly awe-inspiring is the 30-minute film Delta Finale, all about the construction project, which tested the limits of contemporary engineering. Not only were ships designed and built especially for the construction of the barrier (models of them are on display), but a range of new building techniques were devised setting benchmarks that attracted international attention.
Men in particular, it seems, are drawn to amazing feats of engineering, which would make the Delta Works an ideal outing for Father's Day, coming up on Sunday.
There's a lot to do there and much of it is family oriented. After a guided tour, you can explore the various exhibits, such as the "Delta Expo" or the "Exhibition 1953 Flood," which details the human toll, through dramatic photographs, text, and audio clips. Aside from the loss of nearly 2,000 human lives, the disaster also claimed 35,000 head of cattle, displaced 72,000 people and flooded 200,000 hectares of land.
The completion of the Delta Project in 1986 ensured the region and its inhabitants would be protected against flooding for at least the next 200 years. Now, whenever high water levels coincide with severe storms, the barrier, with its huge 62 steel gates is closed -- a process that takes one hour -- and something that only occurs about once every few years.
The storm surge barrier has changed the landscape in more ways than one. When construction began, workers uncovered, among other things, thousands of fossil bones of prehistoric animals. One of them belonged to a huge bull mammoth (on display in the visitor centre) about 4 metres tall and 5 metres long. It's estimated Max, as he's called, was about 55 years old when he died between 30 and 50 thousand years ago.
The Delta Project also resulted in the creation of new nature reserves and recreational areas, while the construction of a road atop the storm barrier itself now connects the long isolated Zeeland islands to the mainland.
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