A revolutionary route may soon be available to tourists, as Russia and the US have set their minds on connecting the Eurasian and American continents via an underwater tunnel in the Bering Strait.
The project, which has been deemed unrealistic by many, has long been a topic for serious discussions between the countries. Now Russian authorities are reportedly in support of the ambitious target.
The project was originally conceived in 1906, during the rule of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II. However, a chain of deadly revolutions and world wars that virtually tore the country apart have long kept the groundbreaking idea on ice.
Now the project seems to have recaptured the hearts of the Russian businessmen. High-profile Russian politician Aleksandr Levinthal reportedly raised the issue at a conference that focused on the development of Russia’s northeastern rail infrastructure.
The tunnel is expected to be twice as big as the Channel Tunnel that connects Britain and France. The 65-mile giant would be the key component of a 6,000-kilometer railroad that will reach from Yakutsk to Canada’s British Columbia.
“The project is already underway,” an official from the Ministry of Economic Development, Viktor Razbegin, told RT. “The rail track to Yakutsk that we have been building for the past 15 years has always been seen as the first part of the road. It will be finished in just about a year. However, the most important is the political decision which hasn’t been taken yet. There are multiple countries involved, and it will be hard.”
If finally approved, the ambitious project will demand gigantic efforts that will make use of not only Russian human and nature resources, but also those of Japan, the US and China.
As of now, neither Alaska nor Siberia has railway links that reach to the extremes of their respective territories.
According to different estimates, the project could cost from $30 billion to $65 billion, and would be paid off over the next 15 years. The epic project could be completed by 2045.
Many tourists are expected to appreciate the opportunity to travel overland from Europe to New York City. The journey through the whole range of different climates could be both spectacular and educational. It would also save travelers time – the tunnel would cross the International Date Line, changing the clocks by nearly a full day.
The tunnel could also play a significant role in the transportation of raw materials from inland Siberia to the US and beyond, with the potential for freight rail to carry up to 100 million tons annually. The tunnel could also be used to develop a link between North America and Asia in terms of renewable energy transmission.