If we talk about the United States and Russia, we can think that they are two very distant countries, not only politically, but also geographically. Nevertheless, there is a small section known as the Bering Strait that separates both territories by only about 90 kilometers. A strip of sea located between the peninsulas of Chukotka, in Russia, and Seward, on the western coast of Alaska, and which houses the Diomede Islands halfway between the two nations.
This relatively small distance has become the source of inspiration since the 19th century for different projects that have been proposed to unite Asia and America, either with a bridge or a tunnel.
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One of them was raised in 1890 by the then governor of Colorado, William Gilpin, who proposed the creation of a Cosmopolitan Railway that would circle much of the world, passing through the Bering Strait, and having its center in Denveraccording to the Xataka portal.
Although Gilpin was not successful, he did plant an idea that was later picked up by figures such as Joseph Strauss, chief engineer for the construction of the emblematic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
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Similar ideas were also raised from the Russian end. In 1905 it is said that even Tsar Nicholas II gave his approval to a project for a bridge across the strait for a trans-Siberian railway route to connect the Russian Empire and the US through Alaska and Chukotka, with an investment of between 250 and 300 million dollars. However, the Russian revolutions, World War I and the creation of the Soviet Union stood in the way.
In recent times the proposal has also arisen. In 2007 the magazine Der Spiegel reviewed an ambitious proposal, with the support of Moscow, from a tunnel under the strait, from Siberia to Alaska, to bring oil and gas to North American markets. Promoted by Russian companies, the proposal also contemplated a high-speed train line.
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In 2015, Russian Railways was betting on a massive Trans-Siberian highway connecting Russia’s eastern border with Alaska, also across the Bering Strait. A project that was baptized as the Trans-Eurasian Belt Development (TEPR) and that it is estimated that it would involve the investment of billions of dollars, according to CNN.
However, none of these proposals has materialized and, if they did, they would have to solve important challenges, such as how to overcome the limitations that the extreme climate of the Attic Polar Circle, the high costs, the environmental impact of a work of this type and, of course, the geopolitical challenges in the midst of a context now marked by the war in Ukraine.
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