Vladimir Yakunin, the president of Russian Railways, has unveiled plans for a trans-Siberian highway that would enable a motorist to drive from London to New York via Siberia, Alaska and the Bering Straits.Â
The highway would run for 10,000km between Russia’s western and eastern borders and would travel from Russia’s north-eastern Chukotka region to Alaska’s Seward Peninsula. The entire round trip between New York and London would be 21,000km.Â
The project, which has been titled the Trans-Eurasian Belt Development (TEPR), would run alongside the Trans-Siberian Railway and would also be a route for oil and gas pipelines, as well as electricity and water supplies.Â
It has not yet been announced how cars will cross the 85km gap between Siberia and Alaska, although a number of tunnel and causeway plans have been put forward in the past, including a bridge on 200 enormous piers.
The Trans-Eurasian Belt Development interpreted by CNN (CNN)
The Siberian Times quoted Yakunin as saying: "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."Â
Vladimir Fortov, the head of the Russian Academy of Science, told the Siberian Times that the project would "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".Â Â Â
He added that a rail link might run alongside the road – an idea that has already been put forward by China. Fortov said: "The idea is that basing it 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 over the Bering Strait and then to the American continent."Â
Russian Railways president Vladimir Yakunin (Kremlin.ru)
Construction would cost trillions of dollars and it is not yet known who would fund the project.Â
On the 16 April, Yakunin will tender surveying and project planning for a 770km high-speed railway line from Moscow to the eastern city of Kazan.
Image: Sunset in Kuznetsk Alatau, Siberia (Wikimedia Commons)