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Kolymaaa
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
i recently watched a fascinating program on the discovery channel debating the feasability of building a bridge across the bering straight -



http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/engineering/beringstrait/interactive/interactive.html

there is also a great article on wikipedia about the plan:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bering_Strait_Bridge

i suppose the main obstacle to this plan is not actually the bridge itself, (or tunnel) but actually the huge distance of rail/road connections that would also have to be built to accompany it?

as far as i know the nearest connection on the american side is Fairbanks, AK although, the rail connection would not serve high speed trains. Likewise, i suspect the alaska highway perhaps would not be large enough to sustain the huge amounts of transport such a project might involve?

on the russian side, the road link finishes in the city of Magadan, on the sea of okhotsk. Which is several thousand miles from the straight. Once again, perhaps the road is not big enough to sustain such a large volume of transport.

as the article says, it could be financially viable, if it carried a gas/oil pipeline with it, enabling the Americas to take advantage of the huge siberian oil and gas reserves. It would also mean much quicker transit between asia and america, than having to send a ship across the pacific.

lets assume the distance between the two nearest cities of any size (magadan and fairbanks/anchorage) is 2000 miles:



a high speed rail link could feasibly reach these two cities in 10 hours (although 20 is perhaps more realistic, average speed of 100mph)

two such isolated places as magadan and fairbanks could suddenly become huge centres of commerce, and tourism.

however, a lorry (truck), lets say averages 40mph including stops etc, would take 50 hours.

still much quicker than a trans-pacific ocean liner. Although, i cant really see much trade between magadan and fairbanks. Realistically we should look at the distance between the two nearest large scale metropolitain areas - Los Angeles and Beijing, which is 6500 miles approx. Plus, the states has no high speed rail connection, so perhaps that would have to stop at Vancouver BC?



so we are talking about passengers being able to travel from beijing to Vancouver BC which is around 5800 miles, in lets say, 58 hours average speed 100mph.

Three days on a train versus 10 hours on an aeroplane? i cant see many takers, so perhaps the train route would be best served as essential an industrial one, with the odd through touristic passenger train, stopping in magadan, perhaps Anadyr (a small town near the straight), Fairbanks, and finally Vancouver BC. I assume that would take upto 6 days to complete the journey?

Truck/lorry transportation we are talking about at least a week?, Beijing - LA.

anyway, sounds like a fascinating plan - would love to hear what you guys think, or any updated information that i've miscalculate about distances, or local areas of population would be great -

additionally, there is talk of a land/rail tunnel connecting Japan to the russian far east island of Sakhalin, know as the Hokkaidō Sakhalin Asia Tunnel, involving a tunnel or bridge between sakhalin and the japanese northern island of hokkaido, and then a short 3 km tunnel to join sakhalin to the russian mainland.

- If this was done, it would clearly make the bering option much more attractive - Connecting Japan to the Americas, with a spur somewhere in the russian far east above Vladivostock.



perhaps Korea could also be connected?

again, any information on current rail/road links in this area would be great.

i suppose at the end of the day, this link is really still fantasy, but the more you look into it, the more realistic it actually becomes!

the only thing the documentary did not discuss, was the possibility of a bridge spanning the aleutian islands. Perhaps this route is not possible? although the ocean is very shallow all the way across to Kamchatka, and there is less risk of the dangers of ice. The drawback with this, is clearly the length of bridges needed, and that it only arrives to kamchatka, perhaps a bridge to magadan would still be needed to span the sea of okhotsk, which is ice bound alot of the year as far as i know. So perhaps that is a non-starter. Interesting though.

 
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I'd have thought it's main target market would be rail freight?

The distances between major population centres are just too far even for high speed rail - they wouldn't be at all competitive with airlines.

Maybe a 500km/h maglev line would do better but that would eliminate the freight potential.

I wonder how viable it would be to run a freight train from Europe to the USA via such a link?
 

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How long will it take for me to travel from the London suburbs, to Paris, to Moscow, to Siberia, to California to visit family for the day? Will I be home in time for dinner?
 

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Goddess of Winter
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It would really only be feasible if the United States & Canada worked on improving the road link between Alaska and Washington state. Otherwise, you’d basically just be connecting Alaska with Asia.
 

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Why not? Let's build it and destroy yet another of the Planet's few remaining inaccessible places, so that an endless chain of containers full of cheap Chinese crap can move around more easily. Of course it could be built, but it serves no useful purpose, and who's going to pay for it?
 

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LocksRocks
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I can't really see the benifit of this.
The main trading links would be between, China/Japan and the West coast of North America, the cost of placing all these containers on to rail and then moving them 1000s of miles in a huge arch that would take days anyway wouldn't be cost effective. It would be cheaper just to use a 10,000 unit container ship and spend just 11 days crossing the Pacific.
 

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Kolymaaa
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I can't really see the benifit of this.
the real benefit would be that a oil and gas pipeline would be constructed along side the transport links, meaning that the americas can start using siberian oil and gas reserves. Maybe thats what would tip the balance in favour.

as for who pays for it, well the whole world benefits, so the whole world would split the costs, although the brunt would be i suppose russia, america, china?
 

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I can't really see the benefit of this.
The main trading links would be between, China/Japan and the West coast of North America, the cost of placing all these containers on to rail and then moving them 1000s of miles in a huge arch that would take days anyway wouldn't be cost effective. It would be cheaper just to use a 10,000 unit container ship and spend just 11 days crossing the Pacific.
Agreed.

This is probably why the USA is so opposed to Russia becoming a member of NATO. Then there would be military justification for a bridge.

If such a bridge made economic sense then there would be busy large ferries plying the straight already. There aren't and it doesn't.
 

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Kolymaaa
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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
This is probably why the USA is so opposed to Russia becoming a member of NATO. Then there would be military justification for a bridge.

If such a bridge made economic sense then there would be busy large ferries plying the straight already. There aren't and it doesn't.
seriously holly, you need to think a bit more before you say such nonsense. The reason the states does not want russia as part of nato has nothing to do with any potential bridge or tunnel across the bering strait.

your second sentence claiming that there should be ferries there already is even more ridiculous than the first one about nato.

the first reason there are no ferries currently, is that the bering strait is ice bound for 7-8 months a year.

The second even more obvious reason is that there are no connecting transport links, and no population.

please could you connect your brain before answering next time?

As i said in the original article, the transport links would have to be built, both on the Asian side and the American side down to Seattle/Vancouver. This would clearly not be economically viable solely for it to meet up with a train carrying passenger ferry across the strait that could only run 4 months a year. There is no advantage of a crossing by ferry, therefore, there are no transport links, and no ferry.

like i already said, the main economic reason for this argued by the program, and by the articles, is not specifically container transport, but predominantly the oil and gas pipeline to accompany it. Easy access to siberian oil and gas reserves would make the heavy realiance on middle east oil a thing of the past. From the container freight side, a bridge or tunnel would mean that transport to the east coast of the USA no longer would have to pay astronomical fees to cross the panama canal.

There is a clear advantage to sending freight from Euroasia to the east coast of the americas (where most of the demand is) through a strait bridge rather than across the pacific and through the panama canal.
 

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I was fortunate enough a couple of years ago to visit this area around the Kamchatka Peninsula, it is one of the few unspoilt parts of the world yet people survive and even thrive there given the correct clothes.

A railway through the area would just spoil one of the last few remaining wilderness areas this planet has got.
 

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I was fortunate enough a couple of years ago to visit this area around the Kamchatka Peninsula, it is one of the few unspoilt parts of the world yet people survive and even thrive there given the correct clothes.

A railway through the area would just spoil one of the last few remaining wilderness areas this planet has got.
A highway yes. Railway? Not so much... Considering what's going with global warming, a rail line electric or not is the least of the world's problems... One cargo ship powered by bunker fuel ruins the air and water faster and cheaper than any hypothetical railway though the wilderness... #NEXT
 
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