Photo: Jim Linwood/Flickr
Approximately how many Slim Jims would it take to sustain a person for the duration of a road trip between New York and London? An investigation into this important matter may soon be launched thanks to a proposed 20,000 kilometer (12,427 mile) superhighway connecting Russia and the United States.
On Monday, The Siberian Times reported that Vladimir Yakunin, the head of Russian Railways, presented the plan at the Moscow headquarters of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The Trans-Eurasian Belt Development (TERP, for short) would include a superhighway, high-speed rail and an oil and gas pipeline spanning the length of Russia, which would then connect to existing roadways in Western Europe. An 87 kilometer (54 mile) bridge or tunnel would be also be constructed across the Bering Strait between Nome, Alaska and the eastern shores of Siberia.
— CNN Travel (@CNNTravel) March 26, 2015
The project, if initiated, would be a feat of diplomacy and civil engineering. While the Bering Strait is shallow enough for construction, it experiences long winters with extreme weather. Crews would only be able to work on the structure for five months of the year, and ice floes would threaten its stability. The Bering Strait has been a closed military zone since 2012 and relations between the US and Russia have become increasingly tense since the conflict in Ukraine began.
Construction of the highway portion of the proposed plan would be marred by high winds, snow, permafrost and glaciers. There is an existing Trans-Siberian Railway and pipeline, however, Yakunin asserted that new infrastructure would bring development and opportunity to remote regions. Nome, Alaska, is also challenged by its isolation, as no road connection currently exists to other major cities.
While a budget for the project has not been released, experts estimate TERP would cost Russia trillions of dollars. Still willing to fight Rus-hour to Europe? According to CNN, the projected distance of a New York to London road trip is about 12,978 kilometers (8,064 miles). That’s a lot of Slim Jims.