sure it's a long drive to russia and on to asia via the bering strait , but probably less expensive than being launched into space ... and a lot more picturesque too .
btw i read somewhere that a bridge connecting europe and africa will probably go from the planning to the building stage within the next few years .
so better get your car tuned up for the long drive .
i'm afraid martha stewart will not be providing our lunches as she did for her friend when he was hurled into space , but we can probably stop at a burgerking ... while canadians will stop at tim horton's for a "double-double" .
...TO RUSSIA VIA THE BERING STRAIT...
News from The Globe and Mail
Russia unveils $60-billion tunnel vision
Passage would link Asia, North America
00:00 EDT Thursday, April 19, 2007
OTTAWA -- Russian officials, along with some Alaskan backers, are stepping up their long-dormant, hugely ambitious scheme to build a $60-billion (U.S.) rail-and-tunnel link across the Bering Strait to connect Asia and North America.
At a briefing in Moscow yesterday, sponsors insisted the scheme, which would include 6,000 kilometres of transportation links over some of the world's most inhospitable terrain, makes perfect sense.
"It is planned to call on the governments of Russia, the United States and Canada to sign an intergovernmental agreement to study and implement the project," said the co-ordinators, who included representatives of Russian President Vladimir Putin's administration and a transportation adviser to the Russian Ministry of Economic Development and Trade.
Officials at the Russian embassy in Ottawa said they had little additional information beyond what had been presented at the media briefing in Moscow.
Officials added that the project should be treated seriously, given the involvement of the Russian government.
The Bering tunnel project -- it could also be a bridge -- would take up to 15 years to construct.
It would be competing with a large menu of planned Russian infrastructure projects, including oil and natural gas pipelines to China, natural gas pipelines to Europe, and a vast expansion of the country's nuclear reactor fleet and road network.
Russian ministers have recently travelled to Ottawa to lobby for expanded transportation links across the Arctic.
Proposals include air links between Siberia and Winnipeg, and a marine route from Murmansk to Churchill, Man., that would be forged with the aid of Russian icebreakers.
The Russians argue that such polar routes could become key links between North American markets and booming countries in Asia, including China. The Bering Strait proponents make the same argument with regard to a rail link, and possibly even energy pipelines.
Joseph Henri, a lawyer from Anchorage who has been involved with the project for 20 years, said the plan would be to extend the track from Prince George, B.C., through Alaska, through Russia's Far East, down to China.
"It would link the world in commerce, on a land route," he said. "Alaska has always needed a hook-up from the end of rail in Canada to here, and now this idea takes it quite a few steps further in tunnels under the Bering Strait."
The project's sponsors, led by Viktor Razbegin, an academic who advises the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, are holding a conference in Moscow next week to promote it. Several Alaskans are expected to attend, including 88-year-old former governor Walter Hickel, who has long called for such a rail link.
The idea to build a tunnel or bridge across the 85-kilometre Bering Strait first emerged more than 100 years ago under the last Russian czar, Nicholas II, but was forgotten during Soviet times. It was revived after the Cold War ended.
But the idea -- which last received publicity seven years ago -- has been met with tremendous skepticism, even in Russia.
Reuters News Agency quoted an anonymous Russian official yesterday who said he doubted the project would get full governmental support.
"To be honest, anyone who looks at a map will realize that the project is too hard to implement," the official said.
Mr. Henri is a board member of the Interhemispheric Bering Strait Tunnel and Railroad Group, and plans to travel to Moscow next week for a conference on the proposed project.
Mr. Henri said the group has been quietly working on it for 20 years, with little to show for its effort on this side of the strait. Mr. Razbegin, he said, has had more success drumming up support.
"The Russians are a lot more active and interested in this than the American side or the Canadians," he conceded.
Mr. Henri said the group invited B.C. Transport Minister Kevin Falcon and Yukon MP Larry Bagnell to the meeting, but they declined.
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