We live in an era in which practically anything that can be imagined can be built: artificial islands, floating hotels, skyscrapers that cause passersby to strain their necks just looking up at them, massive underwater tunnels and bridges spanning once-unthinkable lengths. But with these great construction projects come complications, including cost overruns, accidents and even utter disaster. For every great success, such as Dubai's super-swank, self-proclaimed seven-star Burj Al Arab hotel, there's a project like North Korea's Ryugyong Hotel, mired in controversy, uninhabitable and looming over the Pyongyang skyline.
In this article, we're going to take a look at 10 construction projects that broke the bank, including the Ryugyong Hotel. In making up our list, we looked at a variety of criteria: overall cost, cost overrun, size, ambition and general notoriety. Some of these projects took decades to plan and construct; a couple aren't finished and may never be. Several can be called white elephants -- eyesores or constructions infamous for their cost or general uselessness. Others fulfill their expected purposes, perhaps even serving as gems of modern engineering, but they remain controversial or well known for the costs and challenges they incurred.
We're going to start with some lesser-known but still astoundingly pricey construction projects and then move on to some of the most famous culprits, such as the Chunnel and the Big Dig.