The Eastern Arctic Seas Encyclopedia

2016 Edition
| Editors: Igor S. Zonn, Andrey G. Kostianoy, Aleksandr V. Semenov

Bering Strait, Eurasia-America Transport Link

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-24237-8_73

Bering Strait, Eurasia-America Transport Link – a project aimed at connecting Eurasia and North America (Chukotka and Alaska) with a tunnel, American Peace Tunnel, or a bridge, International Peace Bridge, across the Bering Strait. In 1890 the governor of Colorado State, USA, William Gilpin, was the first to come up with an idea to connect North America and Eurasia with the help of railway ferry line. The USA and Russia started to discuss the projects for construction of a railway line across the Bering Strait. An eminent researcher of Alaska Loïcq de Lobel addressed the Imperial Russian Technical Association with an idea of a project and a proposal to reconnoiter the route from Yakutsk to the Bering Strait and further to Alaska. Later, from the middle of the twentieth century, there appeared projects for construction of a railway transportation corridor between Chukotka and Alaska in a form of a tunnel or a bridge. The discussions resumed in the 1990s.

The project was discussed at big international conferences in Washington, Moscow, Anchorage, Novosibirsk, Fairbanks, and at the UN conferences for global projects in Barcelona, for marine tunnels in Norway, for the Arctic problems in Finland, for the Arctic coast problems in Magadan, for large projects management in Norway, as well as at the meeting of the executive and engineering staff of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) railways in Montreal. In 1991 Washington, USA, saw the registration of an international nonprofit corporation “Interhemispheric Bering Strait Tunnel and Railroad Group” (IBSTRG), the Russian name of it being “Transcontinental.” In 1996 Anchorage, Alaska, USA, hosted a summit of a working group for cooperation “Russian Far East – Western Coast of the USA” within the framework of Gore-Chernomyrdin Intergovernmental American-Russian Commission. The work of the group resulted in a recommendation to Russia and the USA to support the project research as “having a big potential….” The project was listed as a priority program of the cooperation committee of APAC countries. In April 2007 Moscow hosted an international conference “Transcontinental main road Eurasia – America through the Bering Strait.” In the same year, the President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin considered and approved of “The Strategy of Railway Transport Development in Russia up to 2030,” which stipulates the construction of a transcontinental railway line Pravaya Lena – Zyryanka – Uelen more than 3,500 km long with an entrance to the Bering Strait. Year 2011 saw an international conference “Transcontinental main road Eurasia-America” at which the Russian representative pointed out that the current variant of the project provides a multi-line connection: a high-speed electrified railway, a motor road, an electricity transmission line, and a communication line in a single transportation corridor. The cost of the project is estimated at 30–35 billion dollars which would be offset in 13–15 years time. This project has attracted the attention of both critics and adherents who suggest considering other projects partaking to the connection of the two continents.

Bering Strait, Eurasia-America Transport Link: Possible route of the bridge across the Bering Strait (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bering_Strait_crossing#/media/File:BeringBridge.jpg)

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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016