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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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Discovery Channel's Extreme Engineering...
By jskirwin on 4/24/2007 10:16:54 AM , Rating: 2
Did a show once on a Bering Sea bridge (see: and

The potential payoffs could be huge. However the cost of the infrastructure on the Russian and North American side would not be small. Plus I don't see how such construction in environmentally sensitive areas would pass any kind of environmental impact study.

Greens would freak out.

RE: Discovery Channel's Extreme Engineering...
By kattanna on 4/24/2007 10:44:15 AM , Rating: 3
Greens would freak out.

do they do anything else??

By rcc on 4/24/2007 1:46:23 PM , Rating: 2
I suppose it would be unkind to suggest they go to the Bering straits in the winter time to protest?

RE: Discovery Channel's Extreme Engineering...
By OddTSi on 4/24/2007 2:50:59 PM , Rating: 2
This brings up the question, which is more cost effective, a bridge or a tunnel? And I don't mean just in cost to build, but also to maintain and all that good stuff.

By jonnybradley on 4/25/2007 4:59:31 AM , Rating: 2
Well the main purpose is to transefer Gas and oil, so I would guess a tuneel is better. Can only imagine the problems you get trying to build a bridge over a frozen sea, it's damn near impossible to walk across let alone build on.

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