Would you drive from California to Italy if it were possible? If the head of Russian Railways has his way, it could be a possibility in the future. Is this too good to be true, or just a really expensive hassle?
The president of Russian Railways, Vladimir Yakunin, has some lofty dreams and goals to link Alaska and Russia, thus linking Asia with Europe, effectively providing a superhighway that links a huge part of the world together (with a good deal of road tripping, that is). It’s an intriguing idea, to say the least. But is it feasible? Is it ridiculously expensive?
Yes. Probably both.
According to a report by The Siberian Times in March, Yakunin has proposed a plan to build a trans-Siberian highway to link Russia’s eastern border with Alaska, and spanning the length of the Bering Sea between the two continents. The project, called the Trans-Eurasian Belt Development (TEPR), calls for a roadway to be built alongside the existing Trans-Siberian Railway, along with a new train network, and oil and gas pipelines.
To be sure, this project is ambitious to say the least, and is the latest effort in globalization and creating links between peoples, cultures, and countries. And it’s a really, really cool idea.
Yakunin told The Siberian Times:
“This is an inter-state, inter-civilization, project. The project should be turned into a world ‘future zone,’ and it must be based on leading, not catching, technologies.”
Technological advances are the cornerstone of globalization, and this is pioneering advancement, to say the least. It’s also really expensive. Reportedly, building this superhighway would cost trillions of dollars. But there’s a caveat: Yakunin is a close friend of Vladimir Putin’s, and may be Russia’s next president. If he gets the top job, there’s a good chance this will become a reality.
Is it feasible?
The proposed path would link Russia at its fear eastern Chukotka region and connect in Alaska north of the town of Nome. The problem is that no road system currently connects the northern Nome with the rest of Alaska’s road system. Fairbanks is considered the unofficial terminus of the Alaska Highway. The plan is also vague about what kind of connection would exist to link Alaska and Russia across the Bering Sea: will it be a tunnel or ferry? A bridge system?
With all of the variables inherent in a project of this kind, it seems unlikely. But it may be inevitable, given that our world is always changing, advancing, and getting smaller due to technology. Digital technology made the world a lot smaller, connecting people via communication. It may be just a matter of time, albeit maybe a couple generations, before this superhighway becomes a norm. Would you like to do a road trip across the United States, and then keep on going?