Russia Plans Super Highway Linking U.K. to U.S.

Russia
A truck drives along a motorway past trees covered with hoarfrost in Smolensk region, February 4, 2015. Maxim Zmeyev/ REUTERS

The president of Russian railways has unveiled a plan for a new trans-Siberian motorway linking the east coast of Russia with the U.S.

The highway would create the first modern route from the eastern regions of the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean in the west.

The proposal, dubbed the Trans-Eurasian Belt Development (TEPR), would involve crossing the Bering Strait between the Chukotka region and Alaska's Seward Peninsula - one of the most dangerous bodies of water in the world due to its shallow depth, volatile weather and freezing temperatures.

Vladimir Yakunin announced his plans for the new major roadway alongside the existing trans-Siberian rail route at a meeting of the Moscow-based Russian Academy of Science, according to local media.

"This is an inter-state, inter-civilization, project. It should be an alternative to the current model, which has caused a systemic crisis," he said. "The project should be turned into a world 'future zone,' and it must be based on leading, not catching, technologies."

The road would run across the whole of Russia, linking with current networks in Asia and western Europe, but the plans did not specify how the route would cross the sea. The shortest crossing between Russia and Alaska is approximately 55 miles.

Yakunin, who has developed the project in partnership with academic Gennady Osipov and Viktor Sadovnichy, the rector of Moscow State University, also called for a new high speed rail network, new oil and gas pipelines and new facilities for electricity and water supplies.

He estimated that the project would cost trillions of dollars, but argued that the economic benefits would justify such investment.

Sadovnichy, who recently met with almost 100 rectors from universities in the Far East, said the network would boost the integration of people in these remote areas with the rest of the world.

"The main problem that we discussed was isolation. Up to 30% of talented young people graduating from schools leave these regions," he said.

Presently it is "virtually impossible" for a westerner to receive permission to arrive on the Russian shores of the Bering Strait. According to the travel website Angus Adventures, anyone who wished to kayak, swim, walk over the ice or sail from Alaska to Siberia across the Bering Strait would have to do so illegally.

Russia Plans Super Highway Linking U.K. to U.S. | World