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103 kilometers later, Russia will be a little closer to Alaska

The Russian Government recently unveiled plans to build the world's longest tunnel, as part of a $65 billion USD project to develop Siberia and warm Russian-U.S. relations.  The tunnel will supply the US with oil, natural gas and even electricity.

The tunnel -- which will include a highway, high-speed rail lines, pipelines, and high-power cables -- will run under the sea in the Bering Strait and connect Russia directly to Alaska.  At 103 kilometers long, it will be over twice as long as the Channel Tunnel between England and France.

The project was unveiled by the Russian Economy Ministry under the name TKM-WorldLink, and will be jointly financed by government and private interests.  Russia plans to formally present the plan to the U.S. Government this week.  Alaska's former governor, Walter Joseph Hickel, is already in Moscow to give a series of talks on the project.

Tsar Nicholas II approved plans in 1905 to connect Siberia and Alaska via an undersea tunnel, but the outbreak of World War I and Nicholas' subsequent death prevented construction from ever starting.

Japanese engineers have offered to drill the tunnel for $60 million per kilometer, a mere $6 billion.  However, the drill cost is only a fraction of the cost of the total project; the Russian side of the strait requires approximately 3,500 kilometers of road, pipe and rail that don't exist yet.  The U.S. side would require at least half that as well. 

In total, the proposition calls for 6,000 km of infrastructure. Conservative estimates put the project completion time at around thirteen years



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Sounds really safe
By BZDTemp on 4/24/2007 7:23:50 AM , Rating: 5
Nice concept. The world longest tunnel - meaning fresh air will be a problem and then putting in gas and oil pipelines just to make it even more safe!

First of all I think the concept is really just to try and influence the gas and oil trade talks between Russia and it's European customers. Second I can not see the Banana republic that Russia has become accomplish something like this - just imagine the amount of money needed to pay the Mafia and the corrupt politicians!




RE: Sounds really safe
By Zirconium on 4/24/2007 8:33:47 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Nice concept. The world longest tunnel - meaning fresh air will be a problem and then putting in gas and oil pipelines just to make it even more safe!
Not sure why you were modded down. This is a very legitimate concern. Apparently, there are ways to deal with crossing a tectonic boundary, but undoubtedly it will be expensive. According to http://home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/strunnel... the bigger concern is that Russian and American railroads do not use the same gauge, so a dual-gauge track will have to be laid.
quote:
just imagine the amount of money needed to pay the Mafia and the corrupt politicians!
Contractors are bad enough here in the US (anyone hear about the "Big Dig" in Boston?), just imagine how much will be going wrong with this much money being put up as an estimate, and with two countries funding it. A lot of money will be embezzled. Funding is another concern. Remember, how Russia had to delay construction of the service module for the ISS? Granted, the financial situation in Russia is far more stable now, but paying for this will not be easy for them, and it will probably be a hard pill to swallow in the US.

I always gave shit to supporters of LaRouche because he was a fan of building a bridge across the Bering Straight. Let's see if this will actually have net positive effects if it does go through. I'm not holding my breath.


RE: Sounds really safe
By jonnybradley on 4/25/2007 4:22:35 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
tectonic boundary


Made me think, Alaska is pron to earthquakes, ok not very powerfull one. Do these ocuar in the region of the straits?


RE: Sounds really safe
By rcc on 4/25/2007 3:45:19 PM , Rating: 2
Look for the Pacific Ring of Fire for more info. Although the straits appear to be a bit North.


RE: Sounds really safe
By masher2 (blog) on 4/24/2007 10:56:22 AM , Rating: 3
> "The world longest tunnel - meaning fresh air will be a problem..."

The plan is for it to be built in three segments actually, each of which will be shorter than the current Channel Tunnel.


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