This year has brought a new round of project completions, or at least the meeting of project milestones. From factories to mass timber buildings, the focus in 2021 has encompassed a wide variety of construction undertakings as contractors are overcoming economic uncertainties brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are a few of the projects that we have been closely watching in 2021:

Tesla Cybertruck factory

Austin, Texas

Courtesy of Tesla

In the summer of 2020, electric car and battery manufacturer Tesla started construction on a new $1.1 billion facility outside Austin, Texas, where it will build its new Cybertruck vehicle and also produce electric batteries. The 2,000-acre property, which was previously slated to be the site of a massive, mixed-use project with 12,000 residential units, is located near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and could be complete as early as May.

According to other media reports, drone flyovers have revealed that construction on multiple buildings within the Tesla complex seems to be occurring simultaneously, which differs from the phased approach the company took with its gigafactory project in Nevada.

The Tesla project is part of a wave of businesses relocating to Texas, Austin in particular. A friendly business environment and low taxes paved the way for approximately 30 new business relocations in 2020 alone, according to the Austin Chamber of Commerce. In fact, the steel supplier that Tesla plans to use for the manufacturing of its Cybertruck is also building a new $1.7 billion plant in Sinton, Texas, about 180 miles away.


Central Subway Chinatown Station

San Francisco

Permission granted by SFMTA

The Central Subway project is a 1.7-mile-long downtown extension of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) Metro T Third Line that is expected to improve transportation between some of the city’s densest areas. The Chinatown station, which should be complete late this year, is one of four new stations being built along the extension’s route.

The station, which will be named for political activist Rose Pak, won a 2020 International Tunneling and Underground Space Association (ITA) award for its successful engineering and design through an area that is not only historically sensitive but one with narrow streets, several utilities and poor ground conditions. Tutor Perini is the general contractor, with Frontier-Kemper Constructors Inc. providing excavation and support services.


Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project

Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota

Courtesy of Enbridge

Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline runs almost 1,100 miles from Edmonton, Alberta, in Canada to Superior, Wisconsin. The energy giant now wants to replace the 1960s-era pipeline with a $2.9 billion new one that mostly follows along the original route, including 364 miles in the U.S. — 337 miles in Minnesota, 14 miles in Wisconsin and 13 miles in North Dakota. The company maintains that the replacement is necessary to restore maximum operational ability, reduce future maintenance, reduce environmental and other disruptions along the route and to maintain high safety standards.