Deconstructing 2017: The biggest news stories of the year


Engineers working on the Britannia bridge, Wales

In a year that saw ZITY hit the city, aviation meet renovation, and a calendar packed with exciting contracts, it’s been another whirlwind 12 months at Ferrovial. From awards being celebrated to buildings rehabilitated, it’s time to take a look back at the top stories of 2017.


NASA announced two new space exploration missions, the presidential transition of Donald Trump was in full swing, and one of 2017’s best-selling singles Shape of You was released for your listening pleasure.

At Ferrovial, drones were being used to inspect a 160 year old bridge, and the company was featured in the FTSE4Good Sustainability Index for the twelfth year running. But January’s top news story is awarded to the A1A3 robot.  This automated street cleaner’s trolley follows the street cleaner as they complete their tasks, helping them get the job done more quickly and easily. The trolley also has a dustpan that can be raised and lowered by pushing a button on the broom so the sweepings can be placed in the container with no need for lifting by the sweeper.



Cameroon won the African Cup of Nations and the Superbowl went into overtime for the first time in its history. In music news Adele took home the Song of the Year at the 59th Grammys Awards for Hello.

Heathrow tested driverless vehicles and Ferrovial was awarded a contract to expand the I-45 in Texas. One of the highlights of the month though, was Ferrovial taking home the Most Influential Spanish Company award for its Corporate Social Responsibility. The award was given out by Fundación Envera, who gave the award in recognition of Ferrovial’s social responsibility and commitment to fostering integration and equal opportunity.


This was the month when the UK gave its formal notice to invoke article 50 and begin the Brexit process. It was also when Bob Dylan finally accepted his Nobel Prize in Literature.

Ferrovial ranked in the top 10 Spanish companies in terms of GDP contribution as well as being chosen to build a section of the Grand Parkway toll road in Texas which at 180 miles, will be the longest ring road in the US.


April saw a talented bunch inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Electric Light Orchestra, Joan Baez, Journey, Pearl Jam, Tupac Shakur, and Yes were the six acts inducted.

In Scotland it was positive news for motorists as a new section of the M8 between Glasgow and Edinburgh opened ahead of schedule, but we have to travel to Barcelona for this month’s highlight as Ferrovial Services opened a new aluminum processing plant with a processing capacity of 2 tonnes per hour. That led to estimates that at least 1,800 tonnes of aluminium would be recovered in 2017. The facility, owned by the company, represents a qualitative leap in the management of reusable materials.


The French presidential election was a tense affair, with Emmanuel Macron prevailing to become the youngest leader of France since Napoleon Bonaparte.

It was a month of innovation at the Centre of Innovation and Intelligent Infrastructures (CI3) as the SMairT environmental monitoring system was introduced in Guadalajara. This system allows citizens to obtain data about the quality of the air they breathe in real time. There was also a double celebration for Ferrovial at the European Women in Construction and Engineering Awards as two female engineers, Concepción Vicente from Ferrovial Agroman, and Agnieszka Wisniewska, from Budimex, were awarded in the Best Female Contractor and Best Young Woman in Construction categories respectively.



The beginning of the summer saw EU roaming charges abolished, but not until June 15th. That meant Real Madrid fans in Cardiff still had to pay top dollar to phone home as the Spanish club made history by becoming the first team in the modern era to win back to back Champions League titles.

Ferrovial Airports signed an agreement to partner with the Airports Centre of Excellence, a centre created to identify trends in operations and technology applied to airports, as well as developing innovative soltions and research. June also saw the S5 road in Poland open two months ahead of schedule and the introduction of REOLOGIC. This project, introduced by Ferrovial Agroman, includes sound scanning structures to record real time information and register deformaties.


Scientists at the Hadron Collider announced the detection of a new subatomic particle, and at 494 meters (1,621 feet), the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world opened in the Swiss Alps.

It was good news in July as Ferrovial became the first Spanish company, and the first infrastructure company in the world, to have its emission reduction goals validated by the Science Based Targets initiative. The Science Based Targets (SBT) initiative is a joint initiative of CDP, the World Resources Institute (WRI), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the United Nations Global Compact.


The LIGO and Virgo observatories detect the gravitational wave signal from two merging black holes. Unconfirmed reports say it was caused by the world record transfer of Neymar from Barcelona to PSG for €222m; a whopping €117m more expensive than the next biggest transfer on the list.

Ferrovial Airports also signed a new contract for the remodeling and commercial operations of the Jeppesen terminal at Denver International Airport. The 70,000 square meters of floor space will see new shopping, food, and check in services, among other upgrades, to an airport that flies 58 million passengers a year.


In a discovery likened to winning the lottery, archaeologists discovered a cache of Roman Britain-era artefacts, including weapons, at an ancient Roman cavalry barracks near Hadrian’s Wall in northern England.

This was also the month when Ferrovial entered its sixteenth straight year in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), the MSCI renewed Ferrovial’s Triple A rating for corporate governance, sustainability and social projects and Ferrovial’s participation in the United Nations Global Compact. It was also the month Ferrovial Agroman renovated a runway at Madrid Barajas airport in record time. The project saw the team involved work for 24 consecutive hours, for 5 consecutive days.


Hurricanes continued to batter countries already affected by the Atlantic hurricane season, and the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to the team that worked on the LIGO scientific collaboration that discovered gravitational waves.

Working with the city council, Ferrovial Services began a new project in Granada with the goal of increasing the efficiency of municipal waste collection by using urban data. The project goals include enhancing living standards in the city by reducing pollution and noise, improving connectivity and the availability of information about the city, and enhancing operational efficiency. Sensors located in waste bins provide real-time data on their fill status, making it possible to optimise and prioritise waste collection routes in the city.


Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi is bought at auction for a record $450m, making it the world’s most expensive painting. It’s later revealed that the painting was bought by Abu Dhabi’s department of culture and tourism, where it will now hang in the city’s Louvre museum.

London commuters were given good news as the Northern Line Extension reached a major milestone when the huge tunnel boring machine, named Amy, broke through at Kennington. The Northern Line Extension adds new capacity to the capital’s transport network, bringing Battersea and surrounding areas to within 15 minutes of the City and West End. It will also enable the regeneration of the Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea areas, spurring economic growth by supporting around 25,000 new jobs and more than 20,000 new homes. In addition, the construction provided around 1,000 jobs, including almost 50 apprenticeships.


Where would 2017 have been without Despacito? Released in Janury, and again in April with Justin Bieber, it became the most viewed video on Youtube with more than 4.5 billion views. Not a bad Christmas present for the artists behind the track! It was also the month when the world’s steepest funicular railway opened to the public in Switzerland.

The final month of the year brought Ferrovial Agroman and MIT together for their latest research project, the Vocento Business Award for Social Action was given to Ferrovial for the promotion of education, youth, social development and humanitarian aid in the countries where it operates, and Ferrovial began to work with Alastria, an independent and neutral digital space where members can create their own blockchain strategy.


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