Bridging Russia and the USA

May 8, 2007

I don’t know if it’s a Proud Geek thing, but I love geography. I love superlatives — the world’s tallest mountains above sea level (most of us know that Everest is the tallest, many of us know that K2 is the second highest, but probably very few of us — I didn’t — know that Kangchenjunga is the third highest), ranking all oceans by size (the Pacific Ocean is first, of course, but did you know that it’s larger than all of the Earth’s land area combined), and so on.

The list of the longest tunnels in the world is an interesting mix of superlatives. For railways, it’s 33.5 miles (in Japan), and the Channel between England and Italy [duh me, it’s France] comes second at 31.1 miles. An even longer one — at 35.5 miles — is under construction in the Alps. For cars, the longest one is a mere 15.2 miles, and is situated somewhere in Norway. I always thought the Channel also had vehicular tunnels — oops, looks like I thought wrong.

A tunnel between Russia and the USA, currently in discussion, could eclipse these records. Designed for railway transport as well as vehicles, it would run approximately 64 miles — or nearly twice the length of the longest railway tunnel and more than quadruple the length of the longest vehicular tunnel. It’d run below the two Diomede Islands, surely bringing an economic boost to these islands. (One is owned by Russia, and the other — separated by only two miles of water — is owned by the USA.)

Right now, it seems a bit too pie-in-the-sky — and it looks like this would not become reality. But if the Russia-USA tunnel does get built, wow … Imagine being able to drive from Washington to Moscow! Taking an express train from New York City to London! Now I need to figure out how many days both trips would take.

Here’s a map I drew, based on my own predictions of what the tunnel’s route may be, in conjunction with CNN’s map (both maps of which I suspect will be rather inaccurate).

(Click on the image for a larger version)

Tunnel map


12 Responses to “Bridging Russia and the USA”

  1. daveynin Says:

    How long it would take a walk by foot?

    It could be first… since last time the Indians crossed Russia / Alaska inland way before Ice Age!

    • John Rigler Says:

      I believe that the indigenous people have for centuries routinely crossed the Bering Strait in their traditionally-made boats.

  2. Alison Says:

    Don’t you mean the channel between England and France? :)

  3. proudgeek Says:

    {Muttering} I said Italy, did I? I knew it was France, but I have no idea why I wrote down Italy instead. A Freudian slip? At least I didn’t mangle England — after all, that’s where you are, Alison! Thanks.

  4. proudgeek Says:

    Daveynin — you’re right, I forgot about the native americans crossing that strait on their way into north america! Actually, I believe it was much more recent, maybe at the tail end of the ice age if not much sooner. And by foot, well, Caesar’s armies could march 7 miles a day, plus breaking / setting up camps at the beginning and ending of each day. So, 64 divided by 7 is nine days through the tunnel by foot. Sounds like a fun movie plot … No, wait, we’ve already had that — Sylvester Stallone’s “Daylight” movie.

  5. Alison Says:

    Ah no, Mr. Proud Geek. Try Wales. :D

    All this Europe geography, methinks you need to get over this side of the Atlantic sometime.

  6. twallclimber Says:

    that would be a nice idea, but these smogs would melt ice/snow down quicker!

  7. iamsamiam Says:

    Yeah, it was the end of the Ice Age, but still, it’s been a really long time.

    I love this idea and hope it comes to fruition. I’m not a fan of flying (or should I say I love to fly, but am not so fond of crashing).

  8. fuzzydelik Says:

    The average walking speed is ~3mph. Assuming one walks 8 hours a day, sleeps 8, and rests/eats for 6, one could easily walk it in 3 days. 2 if they push beyond my assuming figures.

    A marching army has quite a bit more to tend for than say a small traveling party hiking.

  9. mew Says:

    seattle is coastal, toronto is not. Vancouver also gets little snow, lots of rain and is even further north

  10. Gary Nicholas Says:

    I found the acticle very interesting.
    I also feel a bridge might be the better way to go.
    Their are two small Islands in the middle .
    If approvimently 6 small Islands were built on both sides. The bridge coould be built in modular sections. And connected to each Small Island
    limmiting a long span to the middle Islands.

    Also airships can be used to carry the modular section of the bridge Saving time.
    Their would be approvimently 12 sections being worked on at the same time also saving time.
    I just feel this might be faster and in the long run safer as to being traped under water in a turnnel.

    As for maintenances a section in the middle of the bidge pip like tunnel for moving supplies and man power could be added .
    Just saying a bridge might be the way to go.
    Thank you
    Gary Nicholas
    MI, USA

  11. James Oberacker Says:

    IN the mid-1980s, the American swimmer Lynne Cox swam from Little Diomede (Alaska) to Big Diomede (Russia).

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