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Golden Gate Bridge And Channel Tunnel Project Comparison Construction Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Construction
Wordcount: 3196 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge built at the opening of San Francisco in to Pacific Ocean. It connects the Marin County, California to the city of San Francisco. This project was approved in 1930 and started in January 1933 and finished by May 1937. It is the longest suspension bridge, by the time of its completion. The total length and width of this bridge is 2,737m and 27m respectively. 83,000 tons of steel from New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania and Cables with length of 2,332m are used for construction. Two main cables pass over the towers and each of them is made up of 27,572 strands of wire that can cover eighty thousand miles and it took over six months to spin them. 128 high pressure sodium lamps are installed on the roadway. It was fully painted in orange vermillion color. Original paint was removed due to corrosion and it is repainted with emulsion top coat which took over 30 years. It is a popular internationally recognized and well structured civil engineering symbol throughout the world.

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Channel Tunnel – United Kingdom:

Channel Tunnel is a longest undersea tunnel in the world. It is also known as Chunnel. It is 50.5km long and 250ft deep undersea rail tunnel beneath English Channel. Chunnel links Kent in UK with Coquelles in northern France. Chunnel carries high passenger trains and also transports vehicles through trains. It is recognized as a one of the seven wonders of World by American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). This project was first proposed in 1802. But, due to political pressures it was compromised and later in 1988 the construction company Eurotunnel takeover the project. The project was completed by 1994 with 80% over budget. After its construction Chunnel has faced many problems, Illegal immigrants attempted to use it and Fires have disrupted the transport. Despite of all the problems during and after the construction, it is running successfully and it is considered as most successful project.

Comparison of Projects

There are various factors that influence the outcome of every project. So, it is important to identify the main objectives, scope, duration and budget of the project which helps to distinguish whether the project is successful or unsuccessful. In this report, I have considered the following factors to compare the Project management of Golden Gate Bridge and Channel Tunnel.

Project Environment

Golden Gate Bridge –

The city of San Francisco doesn’t have a permanent link to surrounding cities across its bay area. The only route available was through ferry services started in 1820. Although Ferry services became famous and profitable in automobile industry, that doesn’t show any impact on the development of the city in various sectors. Then, there was an initial proposal for building a bridge which was turned down due to various political and public issues. But finally project was started in the year of 1933 and completed by 1937. After the completion of project, San Francisco was also linked to other cities through roadways across the bay which in turn leads to overall economic development.

Channel Tunnel –

Since 18th century France and United Kingdom were in need of affordable transportation links for their economic development. So the Channel Tunnel project was proposed. The actual commencement of project was delayed for more than a century after its preliminary proposal and trails. It had undergone various problematic phases like technology and machinery failures, Delays, Cost controls, Maintenance issues Political influences. Finally the project was completed by May 1994 and inaugurated by British Queen Elizabeth II and French President Francois Mitterrand and opened to full public services by 1995. After the completion of that project, UK has constructed the supportive projects like High speed 1. The link to Channel Tunnel called High speed1 runs 111km from London to Folkestone in Kent. It costs Euro 5.8 billions. This was opened by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair in September 2003. These trains travel at the speed of 300km/h from London to Paris in 2 hour 15minutes. Now with the stakeholder’s investment on constant maintenance, Channel Tunnel project is obtaining its main objective of developing transportation links.

Stakeholders and their power and influence

Golden Gate Bridge –

Stakeholders involved in this project played a major role for its execution. Initially the project has fewer funds for its execution. Then the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District authorized through legislature approved bonds that valued $30million, but they were unable to sell those bonds. Amadeo Giannini , founder of Bank of America influenced the project by agreeing to buy the bonds to help the local economy. Later the project was carried out by the Construction Company called Mc Clintic -Marshall Construction Co. founded by Howard H. Mc Clintic and Charles D. Marshall. This construction company effectively managed to follow business processes and acquire required raw materials from Suppliers like (Steel Construction- Bethlehem Steel co., Cable Steel supplier – John A. Roebling’s Sons Company) and Human resources from Consulting Engineers – Ammann & Whitney, Contractors – Dillingham Construction, Seismic retrofit Contractors – Balfour Beatty Construction and Co-Contracting – Obayashi Corp., Shimmick Construction company Inc., Prestressing – DYWIDAG – Systems International USA Inc.. The Mc Clintic -Marshall Construction Co influenced the execution of the project by its proper project management with all the suppliers to obtain the Performance objectives, meet deadlines and control on costs. Finally, Stakeholders managed to complete the project $1.3million under estimated budget with out delays.

Channel Tunnel –

The Channel Tunnel project was a very huge project which has various stakeholders. The Stakeholders include British Channel Tunnel group which has two banks and five construction companies, French -Manche group has three banks and five construction companies were formed. Banks were there to advice on loans, financials terms and companies for construction and related work. Stakeholder’s in rail design and rolling stock for Locomotives are(Brush – British company & ABB – Swedish company), Passenger railcars (Bombardier – Canadian company), Railcars for carrying freight vehicles (Breda and Fiat – Italian company). This project was influenced at its maximum by the stakeholder’s investment and their political influences. The initial proposal itself was postponed several times over a century. After initial construction, project has faced various issues with technology, machinery, Human resources suppliers and maintenance problems. Finally the project was completed with the influence of stakeholders.

Planning, Scheduling, Managing Resources and Project life cycle

Golden Gate Bridge –

Before the bridge was built there was only a short route by boat between San Francisco and Marin County. This is Ferry service began in 1820 and later it became scheduled ferry service in 1840. The ferry crossing between San Francisco and Marin County cost US$1.00 per vehicle and it took 20mins. The city of San Francisco was served with ferry boats as it doesn’t have permanent links with the other places around the bay. Many experts turned down the proposal for building a bridge across 6,700ft strait. Because it had swirling tides and currents in water at 500ft in depth and also fog and wind may prevent construction. Eventually, the proposal took place in 1916 by James Wilkins, city Engineer of San Francisco with the budget of $100million for which the government felt impractical. Later Joseph Strauss, ambitious engineer designed a 55 mile bridge across the strait with the promising budget of $17million. This proposal was accepted only on the assurance of Strauss to alter the design by consulting project experts and they considered the suspension type of bridge due to recent improvements in metallurgy.

The Project has faced opposition from various sources. The Navy feared about ship collision with bridge may block entry to harbors. Department of war was concerned with ship traffic. Unions demanded to benefit the local workers with employment. Southern Pacific rail road opposed the project to reduce the competition to ferry services. Later in 1928 the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District was authorized by legislature and incorporated as entity to design, construct and finance the project. The district raised $30 million for bond measure and then approved in 1930. Finally the project was carried out on January 1933 by the Construction Company called Mc Clintic -Marshall Construction Co. founded by Howard H. Mc Clintic and Charles D. Marshall. Strauss remained as a chief engineer of the project. At the time of approval the estimated budget for the construction of structure was $23million which ran over budget to $27million. The project was completed by April 1937 with $35million. The bridge was opened to pedestrians on May 27 1937 which is made pedestrians’ day and later opened to vehicles.

Channel Tunnel –

The life cycle of this project is very vast which spans from the year of 1802 to 1995. Channel Tunnel had faced many rejections for proposals before the actual commencement. Channel Tunnel between Dover, United Kingdom and Coquelles, France was first proposed in 1802 by French mining engineer Albert Mathieu. It was proposed to develop the links between two countries. The first geological and hydrographical survey was started in 1830 by Aime Thome de Gamond which resulted in positive for its construction. Later he proposed the project to Napoleon III and that was turned down.

In 1867, William Low and Sir John Clarke Hawkshaw proposed the ideas which show the benefits to both the countries. But it was not implemented. In 1876, official Anglo French protocol for Channel Tunnel was established which lead to preliminary trails from both sides of the English Channel. This was opposed by the British political influences and press who feared that Tunnel may compromise with national defence. All these problems were encountered that delayed the project for a century.

In 1919, during the Paris Press Conference the British Prime Minister David Lloyd George brought up the idea by reassuring to France. This was again delayed up to thirty years. In 1955, the defence arguments were turned down which lead to start the project. In 1974, the construction was started from the both sides of the Channel and it was ongoing up to one year till the dismay of the French partners and it was cancelled. Later In 1985, The British Channel Tunnel group which has two banks and five construction companies, French-Manche group has three banks and five construction companies were formed. Banks were there to advice on financials and loans. In 1986, Treaty of Canterbury was signed, that allowed proceedings with the project.

The construction of the tunnel from both sides was started in 1988. During the construction, the service tunnel was broke through channel. It was finally completed by 1994. According to 2007, cost of construction was $10,153 billion which was cost overrun around 80%. The project was completed by Euro Tunnel which was officially opened on 6th May1994 by British Queen Elizabeth II and French President Francois Mitterrand. But, full service to public was opened in 1995.

Project Risk

Golden Gate Bridge –

Although it was a successful project, there were some possible risks for its execution, during and after execution. At the time of initial proposal the project faced opposition from various sources. The Department of war opposed the bridge, because the bridge may block the ships which increase Ship traffic. The Navy was in concern about the route blocking, because any ship collisions to bridge may block the routes to main harbors. The local unions demanded employment in construction and other sectors for their workers. Southern pacific Rail road opposed the bridge to reduce the competition to ferry services. The land required for construction was in dispute with Secretary of War. During the construction there was a concern about the strong tides and currents under water which would cause earthquake and could initiate collapsing of the structure. Ferocious winds and fogs may prevent the operation of construction. Now even after completion of project, it faces the risk of inhumanely behavior such as suicide and or fluctuating toll rates which makes impact on the city’s revenue development.

Channel Tunnel –

The very common risk for this type of under water tunnel projects is major water inflow in to surrounding areas. Channel Tunnel project had faced various risks with basic project design. The project ran over budget due to increase in machinery cost by 7% in 1988 and shutdown of machines due to failure in 1988. In 1989, Project faced Euros 1.2billion law suit by TML (Trans – Manche link Consortium) against Eurotunnel and Change on door costs Euros 35million and risk with safety features, problems with Air cooling systems in 1991, Delay in delivery of systems acceptance certificates. After opened to public services, three fire accidents have occurred in tunnel. The first fire accident happened in 1996 with 1000 degrees Celsius which affected 50 meters of tunnel and damaged by blaze and the services were stopped for six months. The second was a minor accident happened in 2006 which made the tunnel to be closed for hours and the in September 2008, another accident occurred which made many people hospitalized and transportation was closed for two days. These accidents made a serious impact on the tunnel which in turn reduced the revenue and increased the hype for competitive services like flights and ferry services. These are only some of the risk that weren’t managed well in this project.

Managing the Iron triangle – Cost, Time, Quality

Golden Gate Bridge

Cost, Time and Quality are the three main factors to manage Iron Triangle. In this project, Cost – Initial estimation of the project was $100 million which was then reduced to $17 million and finally fixed at $35million. The project’s cost was well managed and executed with $1.3million under budget. Time – The project was approved in the year of 1930 and its construction began in 1933 which was completed by 1937. The duration of the project was well managed without any delays. Quality – The quality of the project wasn’t standard. It depends up on suppliers and outsourcing organizations. Till today the project is undergone to various modifications which show that the required quality wasn’t up to the mark in this project.

Channel Tunnel –

In this project the concept of managing the factors like cost, time and quality wasn’t done well. Cost – The estimated budget of the project was $4.650 billion in 1985 and this was overrun up to 80% and it ended with $10,153 billion. Due to various risks it had faced in machinery, technology and delays, problems with suppliers the cost was almost more than double. The time factor wasn’t managed properly. As it has many political influences and stakeholders, the project was delayed at every stage. The quality of the project was well managed during the after the completion of the project, when it is compared to cost and time. Apart from the three fire accidents, the project had reached its main objective by providing the quality transport services to travelers in Eurotunnel shuttle trains, users in Freight services.

Soft factors – Leadership, Teamwork, Commitment

Golden Gate Bridge –

In this project, the concept of soft factors was well organized which in turn lead the project to be successful. Leadership – The chief engineer Strauss took the responsibility to oversee the project’s construction. Also he managed the teamwork to be well organized and to contribute its commitment for the project. The concept of project management was very well structured and organized by the Mc Clintic – Marshall Construction Co. Company. With good leadership skills the company managed to get proper co-operation and commitment from its team, and all the suppliers and other stakeholders. These factors made the project to be completed in time and within the estimated budget.

Channel Tunnel –

The concept of soft factors in this project is depended on various stakeholders involved in this project. But after its completion, Eurotunnel Company managed to deliver good leadership skills for the maintenance of the project. Though the project had faced various risks, the teamwork and commitment from the stake holders made the project to go for further proceedings and the commitment from human resources during the project had reduced the delays caused by other reasons.

Supply chain Issues

Golden Gate Bridge –

Golden Gate Bridge project has involved many organizations in its supply chain. Steel Construction- Bethlehem Steel co., Cable Steel supplier – John A. Roebling’s Sons Company) and Human resources from Consulting Engineers – Ammann & Whitney, Contractors – Dillingham Construction, Seismic retrofit Contractors – Balfour Beatty Construction and Co-Contracting – Obayashi Corp., Shimmick Construction company Inc., Prestressing – DYWIDAG – Systems International USA Inc.. It is unlikely for any project to run smoothly with its supply chain issues. The project has faced various problems with Steel and Cable companies regarding delays and quality of raw materials and involvement of labor in the construction the company. Although there were supply chain issues, they were properly handled and the company followed the pre-designed business processes with all of its suppliers to achieve its set of performance objectives.

Channel Tunnel –

This project had faced many supply chain issues with the involvement of various stakeholders at different stages of the project. Project faced rail design and rolling stock issues from Brush – British company & ABB – Swedish company, problems is railcars for freight services with Breda and Fiat – Italian company. The budget was affected by supply chain issues like – In 1989, Project faced Euros 1.2billion law suit by TML (Trans – Manche link Consortium) against Eurotunnel and Change on door costs Euros 35million. After 1996 fire accident, due to supply chain issues from service organizations there was a long delay of six months to restart all the services. All these supply chain issues had created a serious impact on project.


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