Worlds largest bridge is cheaper to build than half the bay bridge.

Discussion in 'Economics' started by peilthetraveler, Sep 28, 2009.


    I saw this article about the worlds largest bridge to be built in qatar/bahrain that is 13 miles long at a cost of 3 billion dollars.

    I remembered hearing that the bay bridge (which the part they are building is about 1/3 the size of the worlds longest) is going to cost more than twice what that bridge will cost which is about 6.3 billion.(this was a 2005 estimate)

    Now how can they build a bridge for cheaper than us? surely the labor isnt cheaper over there as qatar has a per capita income of 110k vs the us of about 50k. Bahrain has a bit cheaper labor, but their per capita income is still 37k which is still pretty high. Just goes to show that we spend way too much on infrastructure here. We know it can be done for cheaper, but when a company wins a bid here to build a bridge, they do redesigns over and over and force the government to pay more. its all a big scam.
  2. Not defending the theft that goes on in the bidding for these contracts, but could some of the extra cost be due to the "earthquake resistant" structure of the bridge?
  3. The second poster will be 100% correct about the engineering (and costs) required.

    The secondary factor that is easily ignored is that it is cheaper to bribe some officials to take an underspec product (even if the spec looks ok) in some countries than in others. Not pointing any fingers of course.
  4. I think you have this part incorrect... Middle Eastern countries, such as UAE's development of Dubai, imported laborers from other parts of the region or further in Asia to get very cheap labor.

    The GDP #s are irrelevant because most laborers are not citizens of those states. Furthermore, those countries do not have big populations and there are a lot of very, very, very rich individuals. The inequality between rich and poor is huge though. The small populations help stretch the GDP numbers. (Assume Warren Buffet's income was calculated along with other individuals from Omaha for a far example.)

    Other arguments could suggest that their works are more efficient.
  5. union ironworker for a bridge is about $40 an/hr + ... 36 hr work week, 2x overtime after that... 1 hr lunch... plus great benefits package... union dues, etc...

    Engineers and consultants, inspections, safety - $100-200 million...

    Detailing $5-10 million...

    Not to mention 100s of millions of extras for various things that happened beyond the contractors control.. traffic, weather, late deliveries... special orders of steel..

    Divide all this by at least 6 and thats what you get with offshore labor (china, india, phillipines, etc)

    Not to mention financing... some of these deals in the US states won't get funded at 6-8%... its more like 10%...

    Wheras some sharia law friendly country will pay for this with cash... no interest payments.. so technically, its even cheaper..
  6. 1) Grandiose building projects tend to be "bearish" for markets.
    2) It will be built of sand, not steel nor concrete. :cool:
  7. 500 million dollars will buy you 1000 workers for 6 years, at 40$ per hour 5 days per week. Even if our workers worked for FREE, we are still spending 2.7 billion dollars more than qatar/bahrain.

    Its also going to be expensive to go across that bridge now. If they kept the toll at $4 dollars with the 270k cars that cross per day now, assuming there is no interest on those bonds and all the toll operators work for free and they dont need to do any maintenance while they pay off the bonds, it would take 17+ years to pay off that 6.3 billion dollars. If they have interest of 7% on those bonds...they will never get paid off in fact they will go in the hole about 140 million per year.

    These san franciscans are about to see 15 or 20 dollar tolls to use this new bridge.
  8. maybe it's pedestrians 'only'. =)
  9. Slave labor. There is a huge problem in that region with slaves, I'm talking real off-the-boat type of slaves the US south used to have an abuse.

    Also what do you think the tax rate is on the companies building that bridge in Qatar? Do you honestly think they are paying ANY taxes?(ss, income tax, medicare, business taxes, sales tax on materials, etc. note: bribes don't count - they are the cost of doing business.)