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The World's Longest Tunnel

samzenpus posted about 7 years ago | from the disaster-movie-soon-to-follow dept.

United States 563

fusconed writes "Bloomberg reports that the Russian government is proposing to build an underground tunnel between Russia and Alaska for transporting goods, electricity and natural resources. The tunnel would be twice as long as that between the UK and France. The $10 — $12b cost is not something to be overlooked, but Russia claims the benefits would pay it off in 20 years. It would take 10 to 15 years to build, but being an Alaskan, it sounds good to me!"

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563 comments

Has to be said (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18791499)

In Soviet Russia... tunnel digs you!

Re:Has to be said (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18791617)

You REALLY need to work on your Soviet Russia jokes.

Below the ICE sounds good but... (4, Interesting)

jackb_guppy (204733) | about 7 years ago | (#18791501)

What about the crust movement? England and France are fairly stable compared to the "ring of fire".

Re:Below the ICE sounds good but... (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18791569)

In Alaska, the tunnel digs you!

Look at a map for your answer. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18791925)

To answer you question, all that you need to do is to look at a map of the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Here's one, in case you had trouble finding one for yourself: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/09 /Pacific_Ring_of_Fire.png [wikimedia.org]

The Bering Strait is clearly well north of the Ring of Fire faultlines. Thus the tectonic impact will be minimal.

Furthermore, you don't throw together a $12 billion proposal and not take into account such things. Anything you can think of regarding this project has likely been thought of already by the planners. If crustal movement was to have a serious impact, we would not be hearing about this proposal, because it would have been scrapped long ago.

Re:Look at a map for your answer. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18792051)

Need i remind everyone about that nasty mars something mission? You know, the one in which a fairly stupid thing, like forgetting to convert to the metric system and back, caused the destruction of a very expensive project. You would think with all that money they would have thought about a silly thing like what the numbers represent as far as metric vs american goes. Anyways, thats the only expensive project i can almost recall off the top of my head, but my point is still valid:

Often, its the simplest/obvious details that come back to bite you in the ass, you know, the ones that someone should have thought of, that everyone ignored or passed off or simply dident think of, and all because it was so obvious that it wasent worth their time at the moment, someone else surely already thought of it, or simply passed off.

How about the route to Canada and Continental US? (1, Insightful)

jafiwam (310805) | about 7 years ago | (#18791505)

Will that enable truck traffic all the way to say, LA?

Last I heard, the coast was the only way and it didnt go ALL the way for roads. So Russia just gets to trade with Alaska, not the entire North American continent.

Sounds like a good trick for the ruskies to get us to pay for most of it then threaten to take back Alaska. It's not like Putin is a nice soft fuzzy benevolent character or anything....

Re:How about the route to Canada and Continental U (5, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 7 years ago | (#18791573)

Will that enable truck traffic all the way to say, LA? Sounds like a good trick for the ruskies to get us to pay for most of it then threaten to take back Alaska. It's not like Putin is a nice soft fuzzy benevolent character or anything....
If the Russkies wanted to invade Alaska, what good would a tunnel do? Send through the ground troops? I'm sure that would work reeeeeealy well, especially after a few strategic collapses...

They have Boats for that sort of thing; it'd be a lot more practical.

Re:How about the route to Canada and Continental U (1)

shawnce (146129) | about 7 years ago | (#18791581)

Their is the Alaska Highway [wikipedia.org] and of course Alaska and British Colmbia have a robust ferry based "marine highway".

Re:How about the route to Canada and Continental U (3, Insightful)

Tickletaint (1088359) | about 7 years ago | (#18791745)

Why would you want to go all the way with a road, of all things? Cars are great for undirected travel in dense environments brimming with potential pickup and dropoff points, which is precisely what travel along the coast from Alaska to California is not. For this sort of thing, rail is far more efficient and convenient; plus, you're not stuck behind the wheel of your Hummer the whole ride down. Should the passing scenery out your panoramic windows in your passenger train car get boring, you can take a day off at a train stop to rent a Vespa or a snowmobile, or just go hiking.

Frankly, the last thing America needs this century is to further perpetuate a backwards transportation policy that has bound us to oil, a marriage that hurts us economically, environmentally, and politically the longer we continue. I'm reassured that Canada has shown better judgment, and I trust those floppy-headed lumberjacks won't be laying asphalt all over the coast anytime soon.

Re:How about the route to Canada and Continental U (4, Funny)

lilomar (1072448) | about 7 years ago | (#18791783)

Sounds like a good trick for the ruskies to get us to pay for most of it then threaten to take back Alaska. Wow, you said that and my Risk instincts told me to start building up troops in Alaska...

Re:How about the route to Canada and Continental U (4, Informative)

mollymoo (202721) | about 7 years ago | (#18791883)

Last I heard, the coast was the only way and it didnt go ALL the way for roads. So Russia just gets to trade with Alaska, not the entire North American continent.

I can only assume you think other people are that stupid because you are that stupid. If you'd read TFA you'd have seen that they have in fact considered transport links on the North American continent. It doesn't mention roads, only rail, but trucks are a pretty crappy way to move stuff thousands of miles anyway.

I'm surprised they are considering a highway in the tunnel itself. Putting vehicles on trains is faster and safer and ventilating a 65km tunnel full of vehicles would be a huge task, even compared to the scale of the project.

Not truck traffic, but rail traffic, sure... (5, Informative)

Kadin2048 (468275) | about 7 years ago | (#18791949)

Will that enable truck traffic all the way to say, LA?

I don't think that you'd really want to bother with a road in the tunnel. Like the Chunnel, you'd probably use trains. They're more efficient, and you don't have to worry about exhaust gases building up in the tunnel (they're electric), plus they just make a lot more sense for moving bulk goods over long distances.

The Russians already have a well-developed rail infrastructure -- that's if they haven't torn it up for scrap metal lately -- and the Trans-Siberia Railway is all double-track and electrified (at no small expense, but hey, when you have a lot of peasants or comrades to employ, who cares?), so it would be dumb to transfer it all to trucks.

You can't run the same cars from Russia to the U.S., unfortunately they're like the only place in the world that doesn't use Standard Gauge tracks and rolling stock (they use 5-foot gauge instead of the standard 4 feet, 8-1/2 inches; oddly the latter actually works out more nicely in cm than the former), but if you did everything in shipping containers it wouldn't be that hard to build a yard somewhere and just shift them across to new cars. Probably do it on the Russian side since you'd want to save the space in the tunnels and go with the narrower gauge.

Russia, particularly Siberia, has a lot of natural resources. Timber, coal, mineral ores, and probably oil ... lots of stuff that's good to ship in bulk via pipelines or via heavy rail.

"goods, electricity and natural resources..." (1, Insightful)

toby (759) | about 7 years ago | (#18791507)

And beautiful women, natch. (Eastwards.)

Re:"goods, electricity and natural resources..." (5, Funny)

maxume (22995) | about 7 years ago | (#18791585)

Come to cold, barren Alaska...it's not Siberia!

Gravity train? (1)

masterzora (871343) | about 7 years ago | (#18791513)

One step closer to the gravity train? Okay, that's probably not actually feasible for a long while if it ever will be feasible, but still, long tunnels are the first step.

tastes like bacon (4, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 7 years ago | (#18791523)

It would take 10 to 15 years to build, but being an Alaskan, it sounds good to me!

oink oink oink oink is that the smell of PORK? :)

But really, aside from that, is the infrastructure in Alaska and Canada and eastern Russia up there really of the sort that could take advantage of a big project like this? It's all well and good to ship cargo and electricity and such through a tunnel, but without having a way to get it to / take it away from the tunnel, I'd be skeptical of the utility.

And of the line losses. That's a thought. Which is greater- the line losses of electricity going from Russia to here, or the cost to ship coal from an equivalent power plant in Russia and in the United States?

Re:tastes like bacon (1)

lord_mike (567148) | about 7 years ago | (#18791613)

Well, they did build the Alaskan pipeline... I imagine that this project could be built as well.

Thanks,

Mike

Re:tastes like bacon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18791719)

This isn't a passengerline. This is a freightline. Being able to drop stuff on railcars and run it all the way from russia to the US is a huge bonus. Ships don't move too well in the frozen waters so the alternative is a much longer and multimodal trip.

Re:tastes like bacon (1)

badasscat (563442) | about 7 years ago | (#18791769)

But really, aside from that, is the infrastructure in Alaska and Canada and eastern Russia up there really of the sort that could take advantage of a big project like this? It's all well and good to ship cargo and electricity and such through a tunnel, but without having a way to get it to / take it away from the tunnel, I'd be skeptical of the utility.

Well, the way you get it to/take it away from the tunnel is by truck, same way you get it through the tunnel. I'd imagine these trucks would end up stopping at a major cargo hub like Anchorage to distribute their cargo to the rest of the United States. Anchorage is already one of the big gateways to Asia, in terms of goods.

All you'd need is enough gas stations along the way. And Alaska's got no shortage of oil, what with that pipeline and all.

How weird would it be to see a bunch of Russian trucks driving around the United States? The producers of "Red Dawn" would be turning over in their graves!

Of course, it would be a lot more efficient to do it by train, but that would require an even larger initial investment, as I'm pretty sure there are no useable tracks up there and some pretty rugged terrain on the way to Anchorage.

Re:tastes like bacon (2, Insightful)

petermgreen (876956) | about 7 years ago | (#18792077)

RTFA its a rail tunnel not a road tunnel (a road tunnel of this length would be very hard due to air quality issues, trains can be powered by electricity which is clean at the point of use) and they mention rail links at both ends.

I would imagine they'd run truck carriers through as well though just like they do through the chunnel. It might raise some sticky poloution issues though having trucks with tanks full of russian deisel driving into north american cities.

Re:tastes like bacon (1)

Frogbert (589961) | about 7 years ago | (#18791885)

Yes I'm sure North America has no real interest in purchasing oil and natural gas from Russia.

Re:tastes like bacon (4, Insightful)

aoni782 (1075319) | about 7 years ago | (#18791895)

The article:

``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.
So, this would be a means of transportation for the Russian tidal plant electricity, and you can't really ship tides. I haven't heard of any such large-scale tidal plants planned for North America, either.

Also, I believe the costs to build high-voltage lines or whatever is needed to get the electricity from the tunnel to a useful area would be dwarfed by the cost of the tunnel itself, which they've clearly already taken into account.

Shipping electricity (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about 7 years ago | (#18792189)

You can ship electricity via the rails, I'd think. Unless there's a plan for using isolating segments.

Actually, since we're talking about all that infrastructure and electricity, why not use stabilized welded track and run a bullet train? And perhaps keep the tunnel in a partial vacuum (ok, working on that line WOULD suck) whenever possible. It wouldn't take many hectopascals of pressure reduction to amount to a fair amount of drag reduction, would it? The trains could use venturi perhaps to keep the inside pressure right (it works for aircraft, right?) With dedicated passage for trains you could evac it right down to the economical limit and lower the risk of fire as well. Auto and truck drivers, however, would need to pop their ears a bit ;P

Re:tastes like bacon (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about 7 years ago | (#18791905)

For a project of this scope, it might be possible to up the voltage to ten times what normal high voltage long distance lines normally carry. Plus the tidal plant they want to install is fairly central to Beijing, N/S korea, so that would likely feed those populations, while the now-unloaded plants in those areas, and further north, could contribute to the transcontinental trip.
 
Alternately they could invest in some sort of hydro-pressure-pulse or other mechanical system with lower line losses to cross the vast distance. Either way, tidal energy is FREE in all aspects of the term, so even at 90% losses, you're still making a huge profit.

Proud to eat bacon (1)

snow_man (87014) | about 7 years ago | (#18792137)

indeed, someone would have to dump money into a project like this.
speaking as an alaskan i have no problem with that. unfortunately
the wish for a tunnel or bridge is as old as the hills. the cost
& technical problems make the political & security issues seem puny
in comparison.

still...what a long strange trip that would be.
 

64 miles (2, Interesting)

42Penguins (861511) | about 7 years ago | (#18791525)

My thoughts and prayers go out to the civil engineers responsible for maintaining 64 miles of tunnel in an international setting if it is indeed built.

Back again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18791527)

I wonder if anyone will comment on the story this time.

That's nice but... (2, Informative)

Mad Bad Rabbit (539142) | about 7 years ago | (#18791535)

Have they also budgeted for the 1800 miles of road/rail leading up to the tunnel approaches?
From a quick Google Maps search, they have to link Fairbanks on the U.S. side (600 miles off)
and Magadan on the Russian side (1200 miles). The terrain between is a nasty mix of marsh,
mountains, and permafrost too.

Still, it'd be way cool to be able to road-trip to Europe!

Re:That's nice but... (1)

plover (150551) | about 7 years ago | (#18791907)

Yes. TFA says they've budgeted $62 billion dollars for the whole project, $10-$12 billion of which is dedicated to the tunnel.

In addition to pipes, power, and a highway TFA also says it's going to carry a rail line, but they haven't announced which gauge of track the tunnel would use: American or Russian. Either way, the trains are going to have to be stopped and cargo transferred to cars running on the other's gauge at some point.

Re:That's nice but... (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | about 7 years ago | (#18791961)

road trip from US to Europe via Asia... sounds more than just my house to my friends house via bill's house :P im just waiting for the tunnel between NZ and Australia (or is this a bridge :P) and the bridges/tunnels between australia and mainland asia.

Re:That's nice but... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 7 years ago | (#18792251)

and permafrost too.

      I wouldn't be so sure about that!!! Quick, see it before it's gone!

Emergency access (1, Redundant)

jimdread (1089853) | about 7 years ago | (#18791551)

I hope they've got a good emergency plan for when the inevitable disaster happens in the tunnel, such as the recent vehicle crash [news.com.au] in a tunnel in Melbourne. Imagine being stuck in a tunnel 30 miles from land, under an ocean, with burning trucks and cars all around. Accidents happen all the time, and it'd be really hard to get to one in that situation.

Re:Emergency access (2, Interesting)

MeanMF (631837) | about 7 years ago | (#18791687)

I don't think it would be open to vehicle traffic. Instead they'd likely operate it like the channel tunnel where you and your vehicle are loaded onto a train and carried through.

Re:Emergency access (1)

jimdread (1089853) | about 7 years ago | (#18791857)

I don't think it would be open to vehicle traffic. Instead they'd likely operate it like the channel tunnel where you and your vehicle are loaded onto a train and carried through.
You'd think so, but in the article it says that they're going to have a highway as well as a railway:

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.
And trains crash too, and oil pipelines can burst and catch on fire.

Re:Emergency access (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about 7 years ago | (#18792171)

I'm going to second the 'load cars on to the train' idea. It's rediculously infeasible to vent all that car exhaust through the tunnel. There's just not enough control over the occupants of the tunnel when driving cars. Plus the trip would last a predictable amount of time. Not to mention the logistics of having people driving 600+ miles (8+ hours) more or less continiously, plus having rest stops every 2 hours, the logistics of transporting gas (highly flammable liquid!) in trucks on the tunnel/highway is just stupidly dangerous. Besides, who in their right mind would drive when for probably a much cheaper price (factoring in the cost of gas for the car), they could walk around on a train, strech, eat at a resturant for 3-5 hours and pop out on the other side, rested and ready to go.

Re:Emergency access (2, Insightful)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about 7 years ago | (#18791971)

I hope they've got a good emergency plan for when the inevitable disaster happens in the tunnel, such as the recent vehicle crash in a tunnel in Melbourne.

It wasn't pretty. The cause was a combination of a mismatch of truck widths and lane widths, the lack of an escape lane, tailgating trucks and a driver with a panic attack. If the tunnel is properly designed, it's workable. If costs drive down the ultimate width relative to the planned capacity, you will have deaths. I wish, I really wish hard, that Australia (particularly Melbourne, where I live) had California's road engineering standards. I know we don't have the tax base to afford the infrastructure, but good design isn't about length or number of roads, and we haven't realised that yet. The equation is dollars per death.

Having lived (and driven) in both places for a significant number of years, I can honestly say the roads are the only thing I still miss about California (waves).

Road Trip (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18791555)

Funny, I was just thinking of taking a road-trip to Siberia from Panama. Oh, and in Soviet Russia, they dig tunnels to you.

In Soviet Russia (0)

the0 (1035328) | about 7 years ago | (#18791559)

The tunnel builds YOU!

Re:In Soviet Russia (1)

psaunders (1069392) | about 7 years ago | (#18791839)

That is about the most *obvious* obligatory joke I can recall seeing on Slashdot (though others may have better examples). I read the abstract, saw the words 'Russia' and 'tunnel' and just knew my Ctrl+F would find your comment. And here you are!

Btw, I don't mean obvious to be offensive. Rather, I would like to compliment you on your alertness, and congratule you on getting in first.

Re:In Soviet Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18791869)

More like:

In Soviet Alaska, the tunnel builds the state!

I, for one, do not welcome our tunneling Russian overlord invaders of Alaska.

Cheaper Chunnel? (5, Informative)

ObligatoryUserName (126027) | about 7 years ago | (#18791567)

According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] , in 1990, when the Channel Tunnel was completed its cost was estimated as 10 billion GBP.

I'm no expert on inflation and exchange rates, but by estimating this tunnel at $10-$12 billion aren't they saying that a tunnel that is twice as long as the Channel Tunnel will actually cost less to build? Is there any reason to believe this will actually be so?

HEY EINSTEIN, MAYBE THE TECHNOLOGY IMPROVED??? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18791603)

DURRR HURRR, SEE SUBJECT

Re:Cheaper Chunnel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18791747)

They're going to outsource it go China. And when they can't hire enough qualified people in Shanghai, then they'll outsource it to, er, St. Petersburg.

Re:Cheaper Chunnel? (1)

bhalter80 (916317) | about 7 years ago | (#18791813)

Not only that but it will be atleast $6B cheaper than the big dig in Boston and take considerably less time while being orders of magnitude longer

Re:Cheaper Chunnel? (1)

garcia (6573) | about 7 years ago | (#18791921)

Is there any reason to believe this will actually be so?

It's probably not going to be used for passenger trains which requires added safety and more tunnels.

Re:Cheaper Chunnel? (3, Informative)

Lifyre (960576) | about 7 years ago | (#18792115)

Ok, first let me say that I think this number is probably a little small BUT the two big projects people are throwing around are the Big Dig and the Chunnel.

The Big Dig was done in a highly populated area in some pretty nasty ground... I don't see how it relates in anyway.

The Chunnel is had some severe issues with the quality of the ground they were digging through, it was basically a sponge in many areas. The area under the Bering Sea may be more solid which not only make it a shit load cheaper but faster and easier. Also this tunnel is primarily a goods by truck tunnel. The Chunnel is for trains, goods, and automobile traffic. That means the Chunnel has more tunnels, more complications, and more safety issues to deal with.

People are talking about electricity and oil but there are many other goods that would profit as well, such as crab, timber, and mail order brides.

Re:Cheaper Chunnel? (2, Informative)

radish (98371) | about 7 years ago | (#18792259)

Agreed with all your points, but just wanted to clarify that the Chunnel is for trains only. Any other traffic (e.g. cars) are loaded onto trains for the journey.

Interesting (4, Informative)

PingXao (153057) | about 7 years ago | (#18791575)

Looks like it's only about 60 miles [google.com] with a nice little island halfway in between. It'll be interesting to see if this proposal goes anywhere. Any anticipated economic potential will have to be weighed against the operational costs, however, which will surely entail full-time security checkpoints at both ends and in the middle to thwart any bad guys looking to blow it up. Those costs can't be insignificant.

Re:Interesting (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 7 years ago | (#18792211)

It'll be interesting to see if this proposal goes anywhere.

      The real interesting thing is that this is a geologically active area, compared to the chunnel which is in a relatively earthquake-free zone. I'd hate to be in the damned thing when the next 8.0 earthquake strikes the Aleutians...

Russia does not know to negotiate (0, Troll)

josemayor1 (1070508) | about 7 years ago | (#18791579)

Russia does not know to negotiate, whenever it negotiates something, requests irrational things and without thinking, so it is very difficult to reach some agreement with them. To negotiate a continent yet seems to me exaggerated. http://www.dovoyeur.com/ [dovoyeur.com] Voyeur Is bad?

admiral ackbar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18791583)

It's a trap!!!!!

  (damned commies)

It's a plan to take over all of North America (5, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 7 years ago | (#18791595)

They've already moved 27 armies into Kamchatka and surrounding territories, but then they discovered that the world maps that they were working on weren't totally accurate. Now they find out that they need to create an actual line connecting to Alaska to enable their attack. It's pretty brazen of them to ask us for help.

Re:It's a plan to take over all of North America (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 7 years ago | (#18791903)

From the summary .. for transporting goods, electricity and natural resources.

... and troops.

Risky Business (4, Funny)

rumblin'rabbit (711865) | about 7 years ago | (#18791629)

So in 15 years we can attack Kamchatka from Alaska with 3 dice?

Re:Risky Business (4, Funny)

Timothy Chu (2263) | about 7 years ago | (#18791793)

Only when you have four armies on Alaska. Remember you must move as many armies as dice that you throw, and at least one must stay on Alaska.

Never Going to Happen (5, Insightful)

Shihar (153932) | about 7 years ago | (#18791637)

The whole idea is silly beyond words. WHY on Earth would you connect two nations, both of which have many viable ports, with a massive tunnel to their least populated and most distant parts?

The link between France and England makes sense. The tunnel spits people out very close to densely populated zones and provides access to the rest of Europe with a few hours (or less) of train rides. The link between Russia and the US would spit people and goods out as far as you can possibly get them from populated zones. The cultural benefits would be almost nil as it makes no sense to fly a few hours from the lower 48 states, land in Alaska, then take a train ride to the middle of nowhere Russia. You might as well just fly the whole way and go somewhere more interesting then frozen wastelands. If you want to ship goods to the US or Russia, you are better off just to load up a boat.

The whole idea is stupid.

Re:Never Going to Happen (5, Insightful)

interiot (50685) | about 7 years ago | (#18791775)

The tunnel wouldn't really be planned to transport many people. Currently, even using just the standard airplane/ferry options, very few passengers take the route that the tunnel is planned for. [1] [wikipedia.org] Presumably, the tunnel (or bridge) would be used primarily for transporting oil/gas/electricity (and possibly some containerized transport as well?).

Re:Never Going to Happen (5, Insightful)

manekineko2 (1052430) | about 7 years ago | (#18792021)

I love the attitude common on Slashdot where posters come up with extremely obvious criticisms to new ideas posted on Slashdot, and then in an extremely conclusory manner dismiss the entire idea/project as stupid or silly. It's as if they assume that their intellect is so mighty, that surely whatever trivial criticisms they have to make have never been thought of by high ranking professionals whose job is to think about the project.

Re:Never Going to Happen (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 7 years ago | (#18792183)

If you want to ship goods to the US or Russia, you are better off just to load up a boat.

Dunno about in your country, but we can fit a LOT of containers on a single train, stacking them 2 at a time per flatcar. And rail is relatively cheap - almost comparable to shipping - especially over long distances. It's also just as fast, if not faster. Of course there's the small detail of Russia using a different gauge of railway track, so I don't know if they'd plan to have some sort of transfer facility to swap the containers from North American rail to Russian. Most cargo doesn't care if it takes 2 hours or 2 weeks though, so long as it gets there in one piece.

I don't quite think that this is designed for passengers at all.

Re:Never Going to Happen (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about 7 years ago | (#18792241)

Hm. The three largest (and really, the top 20) cities in the US are... port cities that grew to become major population centers! Imagine that. Now, I wouldn't assume more than 200,000 people in each city on either side of the tunnel in less than a decade, but really, Boston proper is only 400,000 people (granted the metropolitan area is much larger). There's no reason to assume that these would become desolate cargo depots. I would imagine that these would become giant internationally known port cities rather quickly, being the only land link between Afri-EurAsia and the Americas.

How much is it worth it to you? (4, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 7 years ago | (#18791645)

It would take 10 to 15 years to build, but being an Alaskan, it sounds good to me!"

What if that means you have to give up almost half your $1,000 yearly oil royalty check for ten to fifteen years ? Because that's about what it would cost, assuming Alaska pays half and Russia pays half.

Hmm.... (5, Funny)

lord_mike (567148) | about 7 years ago | (#18791647)

...Alaska is Senator Ted Stevens home state...

I guess this brings a whole new meaning to "a series of tubes"!

Thanks,

Mike

What a relief. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18791685)

Finally Longcat will have a place to sleep.

Bridge to nowhere? (5, Funny)

sonofagunn (659927) | about 7 years ago | (#18791697)

Sweet - when I visit Alaska one day I'll be able to take the "Bridge to Nowhere" on my way to the "Tunnel to Siberia."

Why not a bridge? (1)

pjpII (191291) | about 7 years ago | (#18791715)

Sure they could just build another bridge [wikipedia.org] instead?

Re:Why not a bridge? (3, Informative)

MeanMF (631837) | about 7 years ago | (#18791779)

Well, since you're already on Wikipedia... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bering_Strait_bridge [wikipedia.org]

Re:Why not a bridge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18792019)

I was under the impression that Confederation Bridge...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederation_bridge [wikipedia.org] ...was already being studied around the world for application to similar projects, including the Bering Strait. Surely a bridge would be cheaper given the proven tecnology behind Confederation Bridge, combined with the island half way across the Bering Strait.

Tunnel?

we could save them a lot of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18791753)


and just tell them to pull the plug out of the bottom of the sea
then all they need to do is build a road

see its easy, should of been an engineer

Not underground, but undersea (4, Informative)

GayBliss (544986) | about 7 years ago | (#18791755)

The summary says underground tunnel, but it's actually an undersea tunnel and is likely above ground. These types of things typically are. The sections are dropped into the sea and connected together on the sea floor. They are not dug underground.

Re:Not underground, but undersea (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 7 years ago | (#18792079)

The sections are dropped into the sea and connected together on the sea floor. They are not dug underground.

      I am not an engineer (obviously) but - depending on the depth of the sea, wouldn't it make more sense to dig it underground, to shield it from the water pressure? Or is that ocean pressure transmitted through a few dozen meters of rock, too?

Re:Not underground, but undersea (4, Informative)

Elder Entropist (788485) | about 7 years ago | (#18792095)

The one under the English Channel is underground, and it's probably the most comparable to this one.

Larouche (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18791773)

Didn't the Larouchies propose something like this?

I can't imagine it being cheaper than naval transport.

Internal Dialog (1)

bannorxr4 (860538) | about 7 years ago | (#18791777)

When I first read this story I thought to myself... No freaking way. One of the greatest strengths of the US Military is its ability to mobilize enormous numbers troops and equipment anywhere in the world rapidly. Basically, we create an air-highway to our destination and begin military operations. However, with this tunnel in place, it would allow any country to overcome this feat of military infrastructure by sending trainloads of cars, tanks, and troops over just by paying the toll. Basically, this actually makes the world more like the giant RISK board where you can move from Russia to the US in one turn. Then I got to thinking some more. When you consider the amount of money that places like Asia, Russia, and Eastern Europe spend to put stuff on a ship and send it over to North America, the economic impact of this would be staggering. It would certainly make Russia more economically viable just throug the tariffs alone. I guess the internal debate comes down to one of history. Which side has the most to gain and is the easiest to defend? The positive economic aspect of the project or the negative (in my opinion) military aspect of the project....

Re:Internal Dialog (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18791873)

First they have to build road/rail links. In the end, it'll be cheaper to ship goods by ship. From China to Seattle, it'd be even longer in miles, and the cost per mile would be much higher.

Basically, no business not shipping from Siberia to Alaska would ever use this.

Re:Internal Dialog (2)

Frogbert (589961) | about 7 years ago | (#18792041)

However if, for example, a massive Persian army attempted to attack north America their army would have to squeeze through this small gap before they could mount their assault. By my reckoning it would only take a very small force to hold them back for long enough to bring in reinforcements.

Re:Internal Dialog (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 7 years ago | (#18792055)

it would allow any country to overcome this feat of military infrastructure by sending trainloads of cars, tanks, and troops over just by paying the toll.

      This is nothing a few hundred sticks of dynamite (or a few thousand pounds of bombs) wouldn't fix in a hurry. Yours is the same weak argument proposed against the Chunnel time and time again. There's simply no way to get enough firepower over a bridge or through a tunnel unless you control the skies and already control a fair chunk of the other side - with troops that ferried over by other means, or by denying the far side to the enemy with artillery/air power. All the enemy has to do is blow the bridge, or destroy the tunnel, and all the troops that managed to cross are cut off (and dead).

"...but being an Alaskan, it sounds good to me!" (0, Troll)

jpellino (202698) | about 7 years ago | (#18791847)

Um, because you'll get to go to Russia? Have you been there? Or you'll get to sample all those great Russian products? I got to shop at the Tzum in Sofia even after the fall - it was the size of Macy's with as much merchandise as a 7-11. And that was just Bulgaria, propserous compared to Russia. Knock yerself out.

Madness (0, Troll)

Rdickinson (160810) | about 7 years ago | (#18792059)

To conect the middle of nowhere to a place with absolutely nothing using a very expensive tunnel.

Coming soon, Real Russian permafrost, fresh to your door.

10-12 billion? (5, Insightful)

CyberSnyder (8122) | about 7 years ago | (#18792073)

Whether this project makes sense aside, that's what we're blowing in one month in Iraq. Think about all the good infrastructure projects we could build with the money we're wasting on a civil war. Ok, stepping off the political soapbox. Next?

Seikan Tunnel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18792085)

I travelled the Seikan Tunnel this past October. (Longer than the Chunnel.) Pretty disappointing. I rushed to get a window seat, and all I saw was a the inside of a long concrete tube. They should've made it out of plexiglass (or transparent aluminum) resting right on the seafloor.

passenger service (3, Interesting)

dheera (1003686) | about 7 years ago | (#18792127)

If this is built with a rail line, please run a passenger train now and then... perhaps once or twice a week, connecting to the Trans-Siberian. It will be awesome to know that one day it may be possible to get anywhere in the world by land transportation only. London and Singapore are connected by passenger rail, so why not Alaska, and then the rest of the US and Canada?

I always wanted to. (1)

Lifyre (960576) | about 7 years ago | (#18792141)

Now I can hitchhike to Moscow with a trucker named Bubba who wants to dance with me!

Drive almost Anywhere! (1)

7bit (1031746) | about 7 years ago | (#18792147)

Wow!

So after that's built we'll be able to drive to almost anywhere in the world.

Can anyone say "Road Trip to England"?

You would think... (1)

xENoLocO (773565) | about 7 years ago | (#18792161)

Given Alaska's location and relatively low power demands, you would think a solar panel array in the north of the state would be a lot more beneficial. It's not like they don't have the extra space...

Senator Stevens (2, Insightful)

Charles Dodgeson (248492) | about 7 years ago | (#18792169)

being an Alaskan, it sounds good to me!

I'm sure it sounds good to your senior US Senator as well.

There may well be value in a gas/oil pipeline from Siberia, but someone should check the numbers very carefully. Other than gas and oil, trade with Russia just isn't going to be that important. Even if non-energy trade with Russia does grow, it will still probably be cheaper to send cargo ships to Oakland or Seattle.

Why drive when you can walk? (1)

tinrobot (314936) | about 7 years ago | (#18792203)

From wikipedia:

In March, 2006, Briton Karl Bushby and French American adventurer Dimitri Kieffer crossed the strait on foot, walking across a frozen 90 km (56 mile) section in 15 days. (BBC)

But, I guess after the ice caps melt, this will no longer be possible.
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