25 March 2008
Russia has announced plans to build a tunnel linking its eastern tip to Alaska via a 105 km tunnel under the Bering Strait. As well as being a transport link the US$ 65 billion project will be used to supply oil, gas and electricity to the US from Siberia.
According to Viktor Razbegin, deputy head of industrial research at the Russian Economy Ministry, the tunnel - twice the length of the Channel Tunnel between France and the UK - would take 10 to 15 years to construct. Outline plans involve building in three stages to link two islands in the Bering Strait with the Asian and North American continents.
The Bering Strait tunnel will cost between US$ 10 billion and US$ 12 billion at todays prices, with the remainder of the US$ 65 million being invested in a 4000 km transport corridor across Siberia. Plans are also being mooted for a 6000 km Russia-US rail link, assuming the tunnel goes ahead.