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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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This is cool
By EODetroit on 4/24/2007 10:02:59 AM , Rating: 2
You could drive from Cape Town to Cape Horn. Crazy.

RE: This is cool
By awer26 on 4/24/2007 10:11:24 AM , Rating: 2
Haha true, but it would take you 3 months - better to go by ship ;)

RE: This is cool
By cochy on 4/24/2007 10:15:48 AM , Rating: 2
Sounds like a cool but rather perilous road trip.

RE: This is cool
By akugami on 4/24/2007 10:56:40 AM , Rating: 2
I was thinking the same thing. It would be a nice alternative, not necessarily quicker, to flying from the USA/Canada to the Asian continent. Instead of sitting in a cramped as heck airplane flying overseas we can sit in a high speed line and with the occasional stops, see different parts of the world from the ground.

I'm also certain we can transport certain goods, especially over a high speed line, that currently is done via ship (3 weeks from east Asia to the USA) or airplane.

And the ultimate road trip. Drive from the USA, down to Mexico, back up to Canada, to Russia, China and various Asian countries, then circle through some of the European countries and loop back to USA. :)

RE: This is cool
By gramboh on 4/24/2007 11:25:24 AM , Rating: 2
Driving from the Canadian border to Alaska takes a very long time, 18-20 hours I believe.

RE: This is cool
By cochy on 4/24/2007 12:24:51 PM , Rating: 2
I would think much longer than that, seeing as it takes about 24 hours to get from Montreal to Miami driving on I95. I'm not sure there are even proper roads all the way up to Alaska through British Columbia.

RE: This is cool
By masher2 on 4/24/2007 12:34:00 PM , Rating: 3
You have the Trans-Alaskan highway to take...but you won't get there in 20 hours. Seattle to Fairbanks is close to 2500 miles. The only person I know to drive it took five days to do can't drive 70mph all the way.

RE: This is cool
By lumbergeek on 4/24/2007 1:09:08 PM , Rating: 2
There's a highway all the way into Alaska from the US. It ain't no interstate, but it's paved...

RE: This is cool
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 4/24/2007 1:48:28 PM , Rating: 2
You can only drive on it for half of the year :)

RE: This is cool
By borismkv on 4/24/2007 3:15:22 PM , Rating: 2
It depends on where you enter Canada. I went from Montana to Calgary, then to Prince Rupert to grab a ferry to move to Juneau (Yay! No roads at all into Juneau...the capitol). Prince Rupert is right on the Alaska border. It took about 20 hours to drive there. Now, there are no roads into Alaska from Prince Rupert. So you have to go around through Yukon to get into Alaska. Fairbanks is almost 1000 miles from the start of the Alaskan border, though.

RE: This is cool
By blinky13 on 4/24/2007 2:02:48 PM , Rating: 3
North and South America are not connected by road. Ever hear of the Darien Gap?

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