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Bet the tolls will be a bitch...

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by slappy4428, Apr 24, 2007.

  1. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Russia plans world's longest undersea tunnel to Alaska

    By Yuriy Humber and Bradley Cook

    Bloomberg News

    Russia plans to build the world's longest tunnel, a transport and pipeline link under the Bering Strait to Alaska, as part of a $65 billion project to supply the U.S. with oil, natural gas and electricity from Siberia.

    The project, which Russia is coordinating with the U.S. and Canada, would take 10 to 15 years to complete, Viktor Razbegin, deputy head of industrial research at the Russian Economy Ministry, told reporters in Moscow on Wednesday. State organizations and private companies in partnership would build and control the route, known as TKM-World Link, he said.

    A 3,700-mile transport corridor from Siberia into the U.S. will feed into the tunnel, which at 64 miles will be more than twice as long as the underwater section of the Channel Tunnel between the U.K. and France, according to the plan. The tunnel would run in three sections to link the two islands in the Bering Strait between Russia and the U.S.

    "This will be a business project, not a political one," Maxim Bystrov, deputy head of Russia's agency for special economic zones, said at the media briefing. Russian officials will formally present the plan to the U.S. and Canadian governments next week, Razbegin said.

    The Bering Strait tunnel will cost $10 billion to $12 billion and the rest of the investment will be spent on the entire transport corridor, the plan estimates.

    "The project is a monster," Yevgeny Nadorshin, chief economist with Trust Investment Bank in Moscow, said in an interview. "The Chinese are crying out for our commodities and willing to finance the transport links, and we're sending oil to Alaska. What, Alaska doesn't have oil?"

    Czar Nicholas II, Russia's last emperor, was the first Russian leader to approve a plan for a tunnel under the Bering Strait, in 1905, 38 years after his grandfather sold Alaska to America for $7.2 million. World War I ended the project.

    The planned undersea tunnel would contain a high-speed railway, highway and pipelines, as well as power and fiber-optic cables, according to TKM-World Link.

    Investors in the so-called public-private partnership include OAO Russian Railways, national utility OAO Unified Energy System and pipeline operator OAO Transneft, according to a press release which was handed out at the media briefing and bore the companies' logos.

    Russia and U.S. may each eventually take 25 percent stakes, with private investors and international finance agencies as other shareholders, Razbegin said. "The governments will act as guarantors for private money," he said.

    The World Link will save North America and Far East Russia $20 billion a year on electricity costs, said Vasily Zubakin, deputy chief executive officer of Hydro OGK, Unified Energy's hydropower unit and a potential investor.

    "It's cheaper to transport electricity east, and with our unique tidal resources, the potential is real," Zubakin said. Hydro OGK plans by 2020 to build the Tugurskaya and Pendzhinskaya tidal plants, each with capacity of as much as 10 gigawatts, in the Okhotsk Sea, close to Sakhalin Island.

    The project envisions building high-voltage power lines with capacity of up to 15 gigawatts to supply the new rail links and also export to northern America.

    Russian Railways is working on the rail route from Pravaya Lena, south of Yakutsk in the Sakha republic, to Uelen on the Bering Strait, a 3,500 kilometer stretch. The link could carry commodities from east Siberia and Sakha to North American export markets, said Artur Alexeyev, Sakha's vice president.

    The two regions hold most of Russia's metal and mineral reserves "and yet only 1.5 percent of it is developed due to lack of infrastructure and tough conditions," Alexeyev said.

    Rail links in Russia and the U.S., where an almost 2,000 kilometer stretch from Angora to Fort Nelson in Canada would continue the route, would cost up to $15 billion, Razbegin said.

    With cargo traffic of as much as 100 million tons annually expected on the World Link, the investments in the rail section could be repaid in 20 years, he said.

    "The transit link is that string on which all our industrial cluster projects could hang," Zubakin said.

    Japan, China and Korea have expressed interest in the project, with Japanese companies offering to burrow the tunnel under the Bering Strait for $60 million a kilometer, half the price set down in the project, Razbegin said.

    "This will certainly help to develop Siberia and the Far East, but better port infrastructure would do that too and not cost $65 billion," Trust's Nadorshin said. "For all we know, the U.S. doesn't want to make Alaska a transport hub."

    The figures for the project come from a pre-feasibility study. A full feasibility study could be funded from Russia's investment fund, set aside for large infrastructure projects, Bystrov said.
  2. GB-Hack

    GB-Hack Active Member

    Will it have a tank lane?
  3. Jake_Taylor

    Jake_Taylor Well-Known Member

    I can't wait to drive to my next European vacation.
  4. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    I'm actually kinda surprised that the Russians don't already have that tunnel built. Finished in, say, 1961.

    Maybe they do and plan to pocket the $65B.
  5. ondeadline

    ondeadline Well-Known Member

    That's an expensive tunnel considering there won't be all that much at either end of it.
  6. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    Wonder if the guys on Deadliest Catch will figure out a way to fish from that thing
  7. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    I remember reading a Popular Mechanics article about the feasability of building a monster dam with a bridge on top linking Siberia to Alaska. And you thought driving on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel was daunting.

    I wonder how much extra it'd be to build a Stuckey's down there.
  8. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    I thought the permafrost would make roadways on either side of the tunnel practically impossible to build and maintain?
  9. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    There was a pretty cool show on the Science, or Discovery, Channel recently about the feasibility of a trans-Atlantic tunnel.

    If they build the Siberia tunnel, I would bet almost certainly it would be rail-only like the Chunnel: if you want to go across in a car or truck, you have to ride on a car-carrier rail car.

    You don't want individual drivers taking off in their broken-down pickups and breaking down 33 miles into a 65-mile tunnel.
  10. GB-Hack

    GB-Hack Active Member

    I have travelled in the chunnel. It's decent, you can get out and stretch your legs, and if I remember right takes less than an hour.

    Then you stock up on French wine without having to pay exorbitant taxes and go home. Great day trip.
  11. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    The Russians are building this thing? There's no way I'd drive that thing.
  12. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    I thought this was going to be about the proposed new tolls if you drive into Manhattan.
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