The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'megaengineering'
The Russian government has approved plans to build a railway link to Alaska via a tunnel under the Bering Strait. The tunnel would be twice as long as the Channel Tunnel, and is also expected to run electric cables. Once it is completed, it is predicted that 3% of the world's freight would take the route.
Of course, there are many unanswered questions. The question of funding for the massive project remains unresolved, and there is the small matter of building a railway link all the way to the easternmost extent of Russia's isolated Far East, over thousands of kilometres of tundra. (The Trans-Siberian Railway does not come anywhere near the sparsely populated region, though a branch line to Yakutsk, a fraction of the way, is due for completion by 2013.) And, of course, US approval for a railway tunnel into its territory is still an open question.
President Niyazov, crackpot ruler of Turkmenistan and delineator of the 12 Ages of Man, has inaugurated his latest project: an ice palace in the desert.
The idea is to build the palace in the Copa Deg Mountains outside Ashgabat, now baking in the summer heat, with a long cable-car running up from the city. "Our children can learn to ski," Mr Niyazov enthused, "we can build cafes there, and restaurants."
The projects tend now to be sites of recreation for the people, like a Disney-style theme park instead of state palaces. That is in keeping with Mr Niyazov's image as a servant of his people, who lays on every sort of amenity for them.
Officials in Russia are planning to build a rail tunnel from Siberia to Alaska, with the aim of connecting Russia's rail network to North America. If they have passenger trains, it should be an interesting journey. The project is in its early stages; meanwhile a project to build a similar tunnel between Japan and the Russian mainland is due to begin this year.