U.S. History’s Most Dangerous Construction Projects

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Have you ever truly looked at some of the world’s most beautiful historical sites? Let’s talk about the history of the U.S. Some of the most dangerous construction projects in U.S. history also double as some of the most dangerous to construct. The projects are classified as dangerous due in part to the many lives that were lost during the building process. These are just a few of the most dangerous construction projects in our country’s history. You’ll be amazed.

Our first project was one that America was directly involved in; the building of the Panama Canal. The project was initially planned to be worked in conjunction with the French. During the 1880’s, over twenty thousand lives were lost at the building site. These were workers who were committed to seeing the success of the construction. In 1904 the United States took over the project. Even after this improvement which was thought to make the project more successful,  an additional five thousand lives were lost at the site. The construction was not easy, for it took the United States more than ten years to successfully complete the project.

Accidents were considered commonplace in many construction sites. We see this as we take a look at the Willow Island Disaster of 1978; one of the most dangerous construction projects in the history of the United States. In West Virginia, workers were building a cooling tower and the crane being used at the site crashed, causing several deaths. The workers were fast tracking the project to meet the deadline. The concrete that had been set at the site had not hardened and approximately 51 lives were lost in the disaster. This proved to be one very costly shortcut.

Chicago also had one of the most dangerous accidents in the United States. Our next disaster occurred in Lake Michigan and is known as the Lake Michigan water intake. A building was set offshore to help pump water to supply the city with fresh water. Tragedy struck when an explosion occurred in the store. Accessing the store was not easy due to the ice that now covered the lake. Even the rescue boat was not able to help much. More than fifty-three workers lost their lives.

Our next ultra-dangerous construction site involves the Twin Towers in New York City. During construction, one of the tallest towers in the word in the early 1970s caused the deaths of nearly 60 workers who were part of the construction team. There was initially some discrepancy in the exact number of workers killed, but a thorough investigation confirmed the number to be 60.  

In 1938 during the construction of the Fort Perk Dam in Montana the fate of most workers turned to death when they were buried in the dam. During the accident, 8 workers lost their lives and only two were recovered. In the entire construction of the dam, 43 additional workers were killed.

The construction of the famed Hoover Dam  was not without loss of lives. During the entire project, 112 lives were lost. In this case, it was not the falling walls but pneumonia due to exposure and machines and vehicles that were at the site and producing carbon monoxide.

Lastly, the building of the Erie Canal shocked the world with the extraordinary total number of deaths. More than 1000 lives were lost on the project. The cause of death was primarily malaria.

Even though these sites are all beautiful and most are still helpful to life as we know it today, their construction came with numerous challenges, namely, loss of life.

Rogers Builders specializes in new construction, remodeling, residential and commercial building projects, and more. We guarantee satisfaction and back our work with our years of experience in the business. We have small-town values with big-town quality. Give us a call and we’ll help you with your next project.