Archive for August, 2012

A view of the routes from the north pole, showing the importance of the Bering Strait crossing.

Main routes of the World Land-Bridge. Existing routes are green, proposed routes are red, but the existing routes need improvement.

Project of the rail link between Eurasia and North America. View from the North Pole.

Russia Green Lights $65 Billion Siberia-Alaska Rail and Tunnel to Bridge the Bering Strait

The high speed railway and tunnel will be a private public partnership whose economic impact could be startling. 100 million tons of freight could be moved per year using the most efficient known way of transport. Proposed tidal energy plants could provide 10 gigawatts of energy and a string of wind power fields could churn a constant supply of clean energy, serving as a vital link to a worldwide energy grid. The tunnel alone would take fifteen years to complete — and an energy and railway network would take many more — but the project would significantly change the shipping and energy industry.

Russia planning Bering Strait tunnel to connect to Alaska
Digital Journal online
Aug 25, 2011

Officials are questioning the feasibility of a proposal by the Russian government to build a 64-mile long tunnel under the Bering Strait that would connect Siberia and Alaska.

“Russian officials insist that the tunnel is an economic idea whose time has now come and that it could be ready within ten years. They argue that it would repay construction costs by stimulating up to 100 million tons of freight traffic each year, as well as supplying oil, gas and electricity from Siberia to the US and Canada,” reported The Times Online.

The Bering Strait tunnel would be also be used for a high-speed railway line and to house a fiber-optic cable network between the countries. This mega-project is expected to cost $65 billion.

Aleksandr Levinthal, the deputy federal representative for the Russian Far East, said at a conference in Yakutsk that looked at way to improve the regions infrastructure, “it would be a cheaper and faster way to move goods around the world than on container ships.”

Levinthal said the tunnel would be an extension of a 500-mile rail line that is currently being built that will link Yakutsk to the Trans-Siberian railway, reports MSNBC.

Satellite image of Bering Strait. Cape Dezhnev, Russia is on the left, the two Diomede Islands are in the middle, and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska is on the right.

Renewed by the recent support of the Russian government, plans are underway to build the tunnel, which would “pass underneath the Big Diomede and Little Diomede islands and straddle the international dateline to link East and West,” said the Daily Mail.

The Russian officials plans to submit a proposal to the United States government in the coming weeks asking for assistance in underwriting the construction of the tunnel in exchange for a share of the revenue it will produce.

A tunnel between the two countries could save the US and Russia $20 billion per year in electric costs, says supporters of the project, but it would require the US government to build railway lines from Canada to the Bering Strait to connect the tunnel with the rest of North America.

Detailed updates, maps, sketches (such as above), photos, and multiple links to practical information is available on the InterBering website, “Construction of Interhemispheric Railroad Canada – Alaska (USA) – Russia and Bering Strait Tunnel.”

“We at InterBering believe that the entire project on the American continent can be financed through private funding, without the financial help of central governments. This is in fact the way the Eurotunnel was built. With approval by local territorial governments – if not those in Washington and Ottawa – sufficient money could be found through private investors.”

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