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The World's Longest Tunnel 563

Posted by samzenpus
from the disaster-movie-soon-to-follow dept.
fusconed writes "Bloomberg reports that the Russian government is proposing to build an underground tunnel between Russia and Alaska for transporting goods, electricity and natural resources. The tunnel would be twice as long as that between the UK and France. The $10 — $12b cost is not something to be overlooked, but Russia claims the benefits would pay it off in 20 years. It would take 10 to 15 years to build, but being an Alaskan, it sounds good to me!"
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The World's Longest Tunnel

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @09:29PM (#18791499)
    In Soviet Russia... tunnel digs you!
  • by jackb_guppy (204733) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @09:29PM (#18791501)
    What about the crust movement? England and France are fairly stable compared to the "ring of fire".
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @10:01PM (#18791925)
      To answer you question, all that you need to do is to look at a map of the Pacific Ring of Fire.

      Here's one, in case you had trouble finding one for yourself: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/09 /Pacific_Ring_of_Fire.png [wikimedia.org]

      The Bering Strait is clearly well north of the Ring of Fire faultlines. Thus the tectonic impact will be minimal.

      Furthermore, you don't throw together a $12 billion proposal and not take into account such things. Anything you can think of regarding this project has likely been thought of already by the planners. If crustal movement was to have a serious impact, we would not be hearing about this proposal, because it would have been scrapped long ago.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @10:11PM (#18792051)
        Need i remind everyone about that nasty mars something mission? You know, the one in which a fairly stupid thing, like forgetting to convert to the metric system and back, caused the destruction of a very expensive project. You would think with all that money they would have thought about a silly thing like what the numbers represent as far as metric vs american goes. Anyways, thats the only expensive project i can almost recall off the top of my head, but my point is still valid:

        Often, its the simplest/obvious details that come back to bite you in the ass, you know, the ones that someone should have thought of, that everyone ignored or passed off or simply dident think of, and all because it was so obvious that it wasent worth their time at the moment, someone else surely already thought of it, or simply passed off.
        • by v1 (525388) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @10:31PM (#18792275) Homepage Journal
          reminds me of that "100 things I will do if I become an evil overlord". High on the list was something like "I will hire an average 5 yr old as an advisor. Any flaws in my master plan that the child uncovers will be corrected before the plan is implemented." Humorous but insightful. (does that get me a +2?)
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          When people talk about the infallibility of engineers, I think of Tacoma [wikipedia.org].
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ConceptJunkie (24823) *
          You have a point. On the other hand, most engineering projects are not used while orbiting a planet 100 million miles away. NASA has had some embarrassingly spectacular failures (including some truly tragic ones), but their success engineering accomplishments have been truly amazing and inspiring.

          That reminds me that the "Chunnel" was completed by starting on both ends and meeting in the middle, and IIRC, when they met, after several miles of digging in both directions, they were off by about a foot in on
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by hazem (472289)
            That reminds me that the "Chunnel" was completed by starting on both ends and meeting in the middle, and IIRC, when they met, after several miles of digging in both directions, they were off by about a foot in one direction and 2 inches in the other (i.e., horizontal vs. vertical).

            That IS quite remarkable. And it reminds me of a similar project on the island of Samos in the 6th century BC. They dug an aqueduct through a mountain over a km long. They dug it from both ends, though from what I read of it, n
            • by Dun Malg (230075) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @01:12AM (#18793813) Homepage

              it reminds me of a similar project on the island of Samos in the 6th century BC. They dug an aqueduct through a mountain over a km long. They dug it from both ends, though from what I read of it, nobody knows for sure how they managed to synchronize their digging.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eupalinian_aqueduct [wikipedia.org]
              Why don't you try your scroll wheel and read the whole Wikipedia article. It explains exactly how they did it.
              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by zurtle (785688)
                He's a subscriber to the dead scroll no-sees.

                Engineers aren't infallible. I work with a bunch of them and one in particular was, I'm sure, put on this earth to test my patience. She doesn't build tunnels... she makes me want to go live in an abandoned one.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by hazem (472289)
                There's more to it than just bending the paths of the digs as you reach the middle. The linked article only shows how they tried to make the paths meet once they were in the middle. But, it doesn't talk about how they got them even that close to each other in the first place.

                The linked article doesn't mention how they knew how to make sure the tunnels even started out at the right angles and positions in the mountain so that they would indeed meet in the middle. And due to conditions of the rock, they co
      • by DarkDaimon (966409) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @11:41PM (#18793053)
        Actually, there is are earthquakes in Alaska. In fact, three of the the top 10 most powerful quakes in the world were located in Alaska. Just take a look here: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/regional/world/10_large st_world.php [usgs.gov]
        • by StewedSquirrel (574170) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @03:54AM (#18794755)
          Actually, Prince William Sound is almost 1000 miles from the Bearing Strait and even such a large earthquate would require sensitive seismographs to measure that far away.

          The southern coast of the Aluetians are on the so-called "ring of fire" which is prone to earthquakes, whereas the Bearing Strait is quite far away. The analogy would be a building in Colorado scuttled by a large California earthquake. It is about the same distance from San Fransisco to Denver (930 miles, or so) as it is from PWS to the likely site of the tunnel.

          Stew

      • by steelfood (895457) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @11:50PM (#18793123)
        Better yet:
        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8a /Plates_tect2_en.svg [wikimedia.org]

        The tunnel will be entirely within the north american plate. Someone below mentioned connecting vancouver island and the mainland. There's a reason why there isn't an existing physical connection between the island and the mainland, and neither money nor politics has anything to do with it. Vancouver Island, I believe, sits on the pacific plate, while as we all know, mainland is on the north american plate. Now that project would be quite infeasible, and dangerous to boot.
        • by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @07:23AM (#18795685) Journal

          Take a look at this document from the government of British Columbia [gov.bc.ca]. It is a fairly extensive article discussing the various considerations for building fixed links (tunnels, bridges, etc.) across large bodies of water. In this case it talks specifically about a link between the British Columbia mainland (at Vancouver) and Vancouver Island, but the considerations it mentions are quite valid most places people want to create these kinds of links. A good read considering the OP.

          A few points from the article on why a fixed link across the Straight of Georgia is not likely to happen any time soon:

          In addition to the possibility of earthquakes, there are other engineering challenges to any fixed link across Georgia Strait. These include:

          • length of a crossing could be up to 26 kilometres;
          • water depths are up to 365 metres (1,197.5 feet);
          • deep, soft sediments of up to 450 metres (1,476.4) on the ocean bed;
          • potential marine slope instabilities along the eastern side of the Strait could result in future underwater landslides;
          • extreme wave conditions (4to 7 metre waves, with 6 metre tides and 2 knot current);
          • wind conditions (115 kilometres per hour on average with gusts to 180 kilometres per hour)
          • passage of major ships through the area; and
          • the need to protect a crossing structure against ship impact (a floating bridge could not withstand the impact of a tanker vessel).

          I think someone who wrote that article did get the wind conditions wrong. I think it is fair to say that they can get wind speeds up to 115 kph or higher during a storm, as we saw this last winter. However, that is not an average wind speed, as I can attest to from trips I have made across the straight myself. :-) Wind speeds are no more different normally than say the English Channel.

          For a tunnel, they would need to go down more than 815 metres (2,675 feet) to stay in stable rock (that is when it didn't shake from an earthquake or tremor). There is some speculation that if a major earthquake happened that huge underwater landslides from the sand banks on the south side of Vancouver (around where the south arm of the Frazer River exits into the straight) could cause a tsunami.

    • by arivanov (12034) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @02:15AM (#18794173) Homepage
      To answer your question - who gives a flying f*** about the crust movement. This is the last of your problems.

      That tunnel will be the continuation of the "Road of Tears" on the Russian side. This is the Road from Magadan to Kolima and all the way to the Chukotka peninsula which was used to ship convicts to Gulag. If you want to see the state of this road get the documentary Ewan McGregor (of S*** Wars 1,2,3 fame) and his friend did on their BMW bike round the world trip (or the relevant magazine issues with pictures from there). It has been disused since the camps closed for 40+ years now. Most bridges have fallen into the rivers, the tarmac is gone and the road is just a jumble of concrete slabs slowly moved around by the permafrost thawing induced by them.

      It will take twice as much money to fix that mess compared to the tunnel with minimal economical benefit. The potential goods flow is very low in the first place. You are shipping from one wilderness to another. How much can that be? In addition to that the total cost of goods shipping will end up being more than offloading them onto ships in Vladivostok and shipping across the Pacific. 6-7000 miles by train with very hight track maintenance expenses (I am not going to even mention trucks, it is silly) is way more than offloading the same goods on a big container ship and shipping across 3-4000 miles of sea.

      Same for electricity - shipping electricity 4000+ miles is not cost effective. Gas and Oil probably may have some economical effect, but they do not need a tunnel. There is plenty of experience in running pipelines on the seabed by now. Including by Russians under the Black Sea.

      Overall, the project is "hidrostroy" type madness. For the reference - hidrostroy was an organisation in the old USSR which built all the water dams and over the years it become a monstrousity of enormous proportions. It had the power to lobby for enormous insane projects which in turn allowed it to grow more and once again to lobby and so on. The last madness just before the fall was lobbying to divert the river flow of the major siberian rivers 2000 miles south to the Aral sea (which was destroyed by previous hidrostroy projects).

  • One step closer to the gravity train? Okay, that's probably not actually feasible for a long while if it ever will be feasible, but still, long tunnels are the first step.
  • tastes like bacon (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FooAtWFU (699187) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @09:31PM (#18791523) Homepage

    It would take 10 to 15 years to build, but being an Alaskan, it sounds good to me!

    oink oink oink oink is that the smell of PORK? :)

    But really, aside from that, is the infrastructure in Alaska and Canada and eastern Russia up there really of the sort that could take advantage of a big project like this? It's all well and good to ship cargo and electricity and such through a tunnel, but without having a way to get it to / take it away from the tunnel, I'd be skeptical of the utility.

    And of the line losses. That's a thought. Which is greater- the line losses of electricity going from Russia to here, or the cost to ship coal from an equivalent power plant in Russia and in the United States?

    • by aoni782 (1075319) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @09:58PM (#18791895)
      The article:

      ``It's cheaper to transport electricity east, and with our unique tidal resources, the potential is real,'' Zubakin said. Hydro OGK plans by 2020 to build the Tugurskaya and Pendzhinskaya tidal plants, each with capacity of as much as 10 gigawatts, in the Okhotsk Sea, close to Sakhalin Island.
      So, this would be a means of transportation for the Russian tidal plant electricity, and you can't really ship tides. I haven't heard of any such large-scale tidal plants planned for North America, either.

      Also, I believe the costs to build high-voltage lines or whatever is needed to get the electricity from the tunnel to a useful area would be dwarfed by the cost of the tunnel itself, which they've clearly already taken into account.
    • by plasmacutter (901737) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @10:43PM (#18792419)
      i think we could easily afford to finance this solo if we were to.. say.. pull back our armies, which are currently sucking up money occupying half the planet?
  • 64 miles (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 42Penguins (861511) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @09:31PM (#18791525)
    My thoughts and prayers go out to the civil engineers responsible for maintaining 64 miles of tunnel in an international setting if it is indeed built.
  • That's nice but... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Mad Bad Rabbit (539142) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @09:31PM (#18791535)
    Have they also budgeted for the 1800 miles of road/rail leading up to the tunnel approaches?
    From a quick Google Maps search, they have to link Fairbanks on the U.S. side (600 miles off)
    and Magadan on the Russian side (1200 miles). The terrain between is a nasty mix of marsh,
    mountains, and permafrost too.

    Still, it'd be way cool to be able to road-trip to Europe!
  • Cheaper Chunnel? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ObligatoryUserName (126027) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @09:33PM (#18791567) Journal
    According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], in 1990, when the Channel Tunnel was completed its cost was estimated as 10 billion GBP.

    I'm no expert on inflation and exchange rates, but by estimating this tunnel at $10-$12 billion aren't they saying that a tunnel that is twice as long as the Channel Tunnel will actually cost less to build? Is there any reason to believe this will actually be so?
    • by That's Unpossible! (722232) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @09:52PM (#18791815)
      Is there any reason to believe this will actually be so?

      If you believe that ... I have a tunnel to sell you.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by rahvin112 (446269)
        The Chunnel and Big Dig would share nothing in common with this project. Labor and Materials would be sourced from Asia and far cheaper than US resources. Labor would likely be a combination of Chinese and Russian, and the tunnel isn't being built on the edge of a fully developed city. Everything about this project would be virgin, and virgin construction is often half or less the price of construction where your dealing with property issues and relocations and keeping existing routes open, and that's acros
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lifyre (960576)
      Ok, first let me say that I think this number is probably a little small BUT the two big projects people are throwing around are the Big Dig and the Chunnel.

      The Big Dig was done in a highly populated area in some pretty nasty ground... I don't see how it relates in anyway.

      The Chunnel is had some severe issues with the quality of the ground they were digging through, it was basically a sponge in many areas. The area under the Bering Sea may be more solid which not only make it a shit load cheaper but faster
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by radish (98371)
        Agreed with all your points, but just wanted to clarify that the Chunnel is for trains only. Any other traffic (e.g. cars) are loaded onto trains for the journey.
    • Just edit the wikipedia entry. Then things will be much more reasonable!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ianbnet (214952)
      is no one else going to take this? in addition to all the other reasons, 10B GBP = $19B, give or take a few bills, for a similar per-kilometer cost
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by illtud (115152)
        10B GBP = $19B, give or take a few bills,

        10B GBP = $20B . You're not keeping up with the news [bbc.co.uk].
  • Interesting (Score:5, Informative)

    by PingXao (153057) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @09:33PM (#18791575)
    Looks like it's only about 60 miles [google.com] with a nice little island halfway in between. It'll be interesting to see if this proposal goes anywhere. Any anticipated economic potential will have to be weighed against the operational costs, however, which will surely entail full-time security checkpoints at both ends and in the middle to thwart any bad guys looking to blow it up. Those costs can't be insignificant.
  • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @09:35PM (#18791595)
    They've already moved 27 armies into Kamchatka and surrounding territories, but then they discovered that the world maps that they were working on weren't totally accurate. Now they find out that they need to create an actual line connecting to Alaska to enable their attack. It's pretty brazen of them to ask us for help.
  • by rumblin'rabbit (711865) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @09:39PM (#18791629) Journal
    So in 15 years we can attack Kamchatka from Alaska with 3 dice?
  • by Shihar (153932) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @09:39PM (#18791637)
    The whole idea is silly beyond words. WHY on Earth would you connect two nations, both of which have many viable ports, with a massive tunnel to their least populated and most distant parts?

    The link between France and England makes sense. The tunnel spits people out very close to densely populated zones and provides access to the rest of Europe with a few hours (or less) of train rides. The link between Russia and the US would spit people and goods out as far as you can possibly get them from populated zones. The cultural benefits would be almost nil as it makes no sense to fly a few hours from the lower 48 states, land in Alaska, then take a train ride to the middle of nowhere Russia. You might as well just fly the whole way and go somewhere more interesting then frozen wastelands. If you want to ship goods to the US or Russia, you are better off just to load up a boat.

    The whole idea is stupid.
    • by interiot (50685) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @09:49PM (#18791775) Homepage
      The tunnel wouldn't really be planned to transport many people. Currently, even using just the standard airplane/ferry options, very few passengers take the route that the tunnel is planned for. [1] [wikipedia.org] Presumably, the tunnel (or bridge) would be used primarily for transporting oil/gas/electricity (and possibly some containerized transport as well?).
    • by manekineko2 (1052430) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @10:10PM (#18792021)
      I love the attitude common on Slashdot where posters come up with extremely obvious criticisms to new ideas posted on Slashdot, and then in an extremely conclusory manner dismiss the entire idea/project as stupid or silly. It's as if they assume that their intellect is so mighty, that surely whatever trivial criticisms they have to make have never been thought of by high ranking professionals whose job is to think about the project.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by StrawberryFrog (67065)
        surely whatever trivial criticisms they have to make have never been thought of by high ranking professionals whose job is to think about the project.

        You'd be surprised. For instance, The Channel tunnel doesn't make money [bbc.co.uk].
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        You must be new here. ;-)
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @09:39PM (#18791645)

    It would take 10 to 15 years to build, but being an Alaskan, it sounds good to me!"

    What if that means you have to give up almost half your $1,000 yearly oil royalty check for ten to fifteen years ? Because that's about what it would cost, assuming Alaska pays half and Russia pays half.

    • by Y-Crate (540566) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @10:55PM (#18792551)

      It would take 10 to 15 years to build, but being an Alaskan, it sounds good to me!"

      What if that means you have to give up almost half your $1,000 yearly oil royalty check for ten to fifteen years ? Because that's about what it would cost, assuming Alaska pays half and Russia pays half.

      Alaskans don't pay for anything, they have the rest of the country pick up the tab while they hold onto their Permanent Fund cash and elect people who decry excessive Federal government spending. Hypocrites of the first order.
  • Hmm.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by lord_mike (567148) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @09:40PM (#18791647)
    ...Alaska is Senator Ted Stevens home state...

    I guess this brings a whole new meaning to "a series of tubes"!

    Thanks,

    Mike

  • by sonofagunn (659927) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @09:43PM (#18791697)
    Sweet - when I visit Alaska one day I'll be able to take the "Bridge to Nowhere" on my way to the "Tunnel to Siberia."
  • by GayBliss (544986) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @09:47PM (#18791755) Homepage
    The summary says underground tunnel, but it's actually an undersea tunnel and is likely above ground. These types of things typically are. The sections are dropped into the sea and connected together on the sea floor. They are not dug underground.
  • 10-12 billion? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CyberSnyder (8122) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @10:14PM (#18792073)
    Whether this project makes sense aside, that's what we're blowing in one month in Iraq. Think about all the good infrastructure projects we could build with the money we're wasting on a civil war. Ok, stepping off the political soapbox. Next?
  • passenger service (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dheera (1003686) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @10:19PM (#18792127) Homepage
    If this is built with a rail line, please run a passenger train now and then... perhaps once or twice a week, connecting to the Trans-Siberian. It will be awesome to know that one day it may be possible to get anywhere in the world by land transportation only. London and Singapore are connected by passenger rail, so why not Alaska, and then the rest of the US and Canada?
  • Senator Stevens (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Charles Dodgeson (248492) * <jeffrey@goldmark.org> on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @10:21PM (#18792169) Homepage Journal

    being an Alaskan, it sounds good to me!

    I'm sure it sounds good to your senior US Senator as well.

    There may well be value in a gas/oil pipeline from Siberia, but someone should check the numbers very carefully. Other than gas and oil, trade with Russia just isn't going to be that important. Even if non-energy trade with Russia does grow, it will still probably be cheaper to send cargo ships to Oakland or Seattle.

  • by david.emery (127135) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @10:30PM (#18792273)
    OK, so we get a tunnel to somewhere on the west coast of Alaska.... Then what? To the best of my recollection, there are no rail lines connecting Alaska with the Lower 48. So you're probably talking about a rail line paralleling the Alaska highway (built during WWII, when cost was no object...) to Prince Rupert, BC, and then probably to Edmonton, AB. So the people who would make out like bandits on this would be the Canadian railroads, all that bridge traffic to the United States.

    If you're not familiar with the geography of Western Canada, it's worth taking a peek at your favorite mapping site... Make sure you look at something like Hybrid view on Google Maps, so you get a sense of the topography....

    Unless there's already a rail connection from the proposed Alaskan terminal through Canada, I don't see this as being particularly economically feasible. Certainly the US should insist that Canada kick in a contribution.

    But if this does come about, I hope they'll run passenger trains along that route, it would be a spectacular train ride!

            dave (occasional railfan)

    p.s. Speaking of Canada, how about the prospects for a tunnel from the Lower Mainland to Vancouver Island? My guess is that the island residents will never go for it, all that traffic would ruin their spectacular corner of the world...

  • by coaxial (28297) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @10:31PM (#18792279) Homepage
    fusconed wrote:
    "being an Alaskan, it sounds good to me!"

    Well of course it does. Alaska has long received excessive amounts of Federal spending. This would just be yet another large government handout that would have almost no benefits.
  • road trip! (Score:5, Funny)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare@NoSpaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @10:36PM (#18792327) Homepage Journal
    seriously, how awesome would it be to stick the family in the SUV in florida and wind up in beijing? or berlin?

    "oh look a sign... next gas station, 1200 km"

    "daddy i got to goes to the bathroom"

    "not now honey, your pee will freeze to your dick or the polar bears might get you"

    "mommy, jessica is drooling on me!"

    "tell jessica we'll leave her at genghis khan's firecracker shack when we get to ulan bator if she doesn't knock it off"

    "honey, all this mcdonald's drive thru serves is skinned uncooked dog"
  • NYC Tunnel (Score:4, Informative)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @01:00AM (#18793705) Homepage Journal
    NYC is on the East side of the Hudson River (except for Staten Island, but that's really Jersey). As is Long Island and New England. The Hudson runs all the way up to near Canada. So that hugely populous part of the country (over 30M people) is divided from the rest of the states. The closest railroad bridge to NYC is over 100 miles North of the City. We've got a couple of tunnels and a couple of bridges for trucks, though our ports have been reduced to a token amount of transfer.

    So we've been trying to build the Cross-Harbor Rail Tunnel [wikipedia.org] from Jersey City to Brooklyn. It's supposed to cost only $2-3B, which is only <5% the NYC annual budget.

    But Mayor Bloomberg, like any NYC mayor, is more interested in real estate developers than in the overall economy of NYC, so he opposes it. But it's probably the best tunnel project being considered in the US. It would further integrate the US with itself, making us more productive, not further subsidize the Alaskan oil corporations and make us more dependent on the Russian mafia oil industry.
  • by joe_n_bloe (244407) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @01:51AM (#18794027) Homepage
    http://www.arctic.net/~snnr/tunnel/ [arctic.net]

    This idea has been afloat (so to speak) for decades.

    It's a pretty good idea, as long as you can keep Al Qaeda out of it. I guess you just keep anyone who looks, you know, Arab or Persian, or generally suspicious out. .... *cough*

    A rail connection from Alaska to the lower 48 would be "interesting" and more of a challenge than the tunnel itself because of the amount of permafrost bog in the way. I've driven the Alaska Highway and Cassiar three times and can tell you all about permafrost and mosquitoes. However, a land route to Nome, a road anyway, has been planned for some time, and will probably be built one of these days. Currently the only way to reach Nome overland is via snow machine (or dogsled) during the winter. Actually there are a number of Alaskan villages of up to a thousand people that can't be reached overland during the summer.

    There is a well-used railway link from Anchorage to Fairbanks. Otherwise, the rail infrastructure in Alaska, YT, and northern BC, is mostly nonexistent. I think around 1000 miles of rail would have to be built from Fairbanks to Dease Lake BC.

    The transportation infrastructure in Siberia is terrible and a rail link, to anywhere, would be immensely useful. The best time of year to travel there is the winter, when the roads are frozen and smooth, and ice roads can be built over water - just as in parts of Alaska and northern Canada. In warmer weather, the roads are mud. Meanwhile, northeast Asia has immense natural resources just waiting.

    I'd like to see it built in my lifetime.
  • by popo (107611) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @02:27AM (#18794267) Homepage
    Build a bridge out of piecrete.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piecrete [wikipedia.org]

    Its great stuff. Its cheap. And the geographic location is perfect for it.
    (Hell, I've been thinking about Piecrete ever since I was a kid and I just
    want someone to do SOMETHING with it)

    Sure beats spending $20 Billion anyway. ...my two cents.

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