The 12 wonders of Chile: review the great works of engineering created in our country | National

Despite being a highly seismic country, innovation and talent have allowed Chile to overcome challenges to have great engineering works, such as two of the tallest buildings in South America, one of the longest tunnels in Latin America, reservoirs, highways, modern renewable energy plants and even the future largest telescope in the world.

Every May 14, the National Engineering Day is commemorated in Chile in tribute to the engineers who promoted the reconstruction of the country after the earthquake of May 13, 1647.

In a seismic country like Chile, the challenge of building great works of engineering It has been surpassed by constructions such as the tallest tower in South America, the longest tunnel in Latin America for its time, and what was the tallest railway bridge in the world at the time.

Image of Chile Foundationbased on information from the College of Engineers of the Catholic University, made a compilation of the great works of engineering that have been created in Chile.

Take a look at some of these builds here:

1.- Malleco Viaduct: the highest in the world in its time

Located on the Malleco River, in the district of Collipulli, in the region of La Araucanía, it was considered the highest railway bridge in the world, with 102 meters of height from the rails to the bottom of the ravine.

Its construction -carried out by Schneider et Cie.-, began in 1887, and it was inaugurated in October 1890. It allowed the connection of the south with the center of the country, promoting trade and economic development in the south of Chile.

It is one of the largest metal engineering works in Chile, with a length of 347.5 meters. It was also declared a national monument in 1990, and today it is on the tentative list of world heritage.

File | Sebastian Brogca | ONE Agency

2.- Las Raíces Tunnel: the longest in Latin America in its time

This work is also located in the region of La Araucanía, the Las Raíces tunnel was the longest railway tunnel in Latin America, with a length of 4,528 meters.

It was built in 1939, and connects the communes of Curacautín and Lonquimay, at 1,000 meters above sea level.

Today it is the fifth longest vehicular tunnel in Latin America, surpassing four Colombian works.

tunnel the roots
File | Pablo Diaz | ONE Agency

3.- Canal San Carlos: dates from the Colony

Its construction, carried out to convey the waters of the Maipo River (Metropolitan region), is recognized as one of the feats of engineering in Chile.

Although its layout dates back to 1588, it finally saw the light of day at the end of the 18th century, during the time of transition from the Colony to the Republic.

The colonial bridge of the old San Carlos Canal, built in 1805, is today a historical monument and is located in a ditch that is part of the old bed of the San Carlos Canal.

4.- Central Rapel: the first large hydroelectric plant

Since 1942, the State of Chile carried out various studies for the construction of a dam in the Melipilla sector, which would generate a lake that would allow irrigation for agricultural activity.

Finally, Endesa determined in 1956 that the Rapel River (O’Higgins region) was suitable for the construction of a hydroelectric power plant, which was finally inaugurated on June 21, 1968, becoming the first large hydroelectric power plant in Chili.

Its structure is made up of a dam wall that is a concrete vault and its height is 112 meters.

central rapel
Enel

5.- Gran Torre Santiago: the tallest in South America

With a height of 300 meters and 62 floors, this building located in Santiago is not only the tallest skyscraper in Chile, but also the tallest in South America and, at the time of its inauguration in 2014, the tallest in Latin America ( being dethroned in 2020 by the Torre Obispado in Monterrey, Mexico).

In addition, it is one of the megastructures located in a sector of high seismic risk.

great tower santiago
File | Paul Vera | ONE Agency

6.- Cerro Dominador: first Concentrated Solar Power plant in Latin America

This work is located in the Antofagasta region, in the middle of the Atacama desert, after its inauguration in June 2021, Cerro Dominador has become an emblem of renewable energies in Latin America, by using tower and photovoltaic solar concentration technologies.

The plant uses 10,600 mirrors (heliostats), which reflect sunlight by concentrating the heat in a receiver located on top of the tower, 250 meters high.

This makes it the second tallest tower in South America.

dominator hill
File | Hill Dominator

7.- Luz del Norte solar park: the largest photovoltaic installation in South America

Located in the Atacama region, in the heart of the Atacama desert, this photovoltaic plant is the first large-scale solar installation in the world authorized to provide complementary services to the electricity grid on a commercial basis.

The plant, with the capacity to produce energy equivalent to the supply of 174,000 homes, belongs to the American company First Solar.

northern light solar park
Ministry of energy

8.- Cerro Pabellón: the first geothermal plant in South America

In September 2017, this geothermal plant was commissioned, the first in South America and the first large-scale plant in the world built at 4,500 meters above sea level.

Located in the Atacama desert (in the Antofagasta region), Cerro Pabellón has the capacity to supply 165,000 homes.

pavilion hill
File | In it

9.- Santiago Metro: one of the most extensive and modern

Its construction began in 1969, and with the inauguration of the San Pablo-La Moneda section in 1975, its operation officially began.

It has seven underground train lines, totaling 140 kilometers in length, and 136 stations, reaching 25 communes in the Metropolitan region.

It has been highlighted as the best underground train in America and today it is the second longest in Latin America.

Santiago subway
File | Sebastian Beltran Gaete | ONE Agency

10.- Costanera Norte Highway: innovation under the river

This highway crosses the city of Santiago from east to west. With its 42 kilometers in length, it includes a 5-kilometer tunnel under the Mapocho River, which makes it one of the most important works in the city in recent years.

It was inaugurated in 2005, and today it is considered one of the most modern urban highways in the world, in addition to using the free flow moving collection system.

north coastal highway
File | Jose Francisco Zuniga

11.- Basilica del Salvador: anti-seismic heritage

The particularity of this church located in the center of Santiago is its anti-seismic protection, a project led by a group of engineers from the Catholic University, which made Chile the first country in Latin America to protect its heritage structures against future earthquakes.

This building, built between 1873 and 1892, was hit by earthquakes in 1985 and 2010, after which this protection project began.

basilica of the savior
File | Leonardo Rubilar Chandia | ONE Agency

12.- Extremely Large European Telescope (E-ELT)

It is currently being built in Cerro Armazones (Antofagasta region), and it will be the largest infrared optical telescope in the world.

The foregoing, thanks to an agreement between the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the Government of Chile.

LARGEST TELESCOPE
Construction status of the ELT in January 2022 – ESO

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