A report by the Siberian Times has detailed one of Russia’s more outlandish schemes to date: a super motorway that would connect the eastern border of Russia with Alaska in the United States. The highway would make it possible to drive from the United Kingdom to the US, with help from ferries, tunnels, and trains.
The plan, unveiled at a meeting at the Russian Academy of Science and presented by the head of Russia Rail Vladimir Yakunin, also calls for a high-speed railway to be built alongside the motorway. Both routes would support new cities and industries created as a result of the construction, the Siberian Times writes.
The development is called the Trans-Eurasian belt Development (TEPR). That name doesn’t sound very catchy, so instead we’re going with the International Road of Russia (IRR). If it were really built, it would mean you could drive (with help from the Eurostar and the Panama Canal) from the top of the UK, say Wick in Scotland, to the very bottom of South America, Cape Horn.
Here’s our rough interpretation of the route (the new railway would help cars hop across the Bering Strait, we think):
Alongside the train track and road, pipelines for oil and gas and new electricity and water supply lines would be put in place. The network would total around 12,400 miles. The aim is to link Asia with Europe as it would run from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Cities most people haven’t heard of, such as Yeketerinburg and Irkutsk, would be joined up as a result of the plan.
The road would follow a similar path to the Trans-Siberian railway — but would stretch even further, crossing the Bering Strait to Alaska. It remains unclear what the US would think about that….
Here’s the Trans-Siberian railway:
And here’s a Siberian road. It’s part of the Kolyma Highway in a remote part of the country.
Russia sees the project as essential to spurring development within the region, the Siberian Times explains.
Yakunin said at the meeting: “This is an inter-state, inter-civilisation, project. It should be an alternative to the current (neo-liberal) model, which has caused a systemic crisis. The project should be turned into a world ‘future zone’, and it must be based on leading, not catching, technologies.”
The Russia Rail chief said he estimates the cost of the new venture would be in the trillions. He argued that the project’s economic benefit would outweigh the money spent.
Vladimir Fortov, the Head of the Russian Academy of Science, said the scheme is “very ambitious and expensive,” reports the Siberian Times. But he added: “It will solve many problems in the development of the vast region. It is connected with social programs, and new fields, new energy resources, and so on. The idea is that basing on the new technology of high-speed rail transport we can build a new railway near the Trans-Siberian Railway with the opportunity to go to Chukotka and Bering Strait and then to the American continent.”
The Trans-Siberian Railway in Russia, which runs from Moscow to Vladisvostok and stretches across 6,152 miles. It takes seven days to travel.
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