Russia recently proposed the idea of a trans-national superhighway spanning from London, all the way to Alaska. This project will come in addition to an upgrade of the Trans-Siberian Railway.
During a meeting of the Russian Academy of Science, the head of Russian Railways, Vladimir Yakunin, proposed his idea of the Trans-Eurasian belt Development (TEPR). The plan would be to build a superhighway alongside the current Trans-Siberian Railway through Russia, connecting with highway systems in Europe and Asia to create a multinational thoroughfare — including a hitherto unnamed connection to Alaska. Connective roadways would be built or upgraded if necessary, and an improved, high-speed railway would be built alongside the current Trans-Siberian Railway.
The plan is meant to create massive industry within and surrounding Russia in a bid to make the country a leading economic force. Yakunin’s proposal included building oil pipelines and facilities for the utilities industry, such as electric generators and watersheds.
Yakunin has worked with the head of Moscow University, Viktor Sadovnichy, and Russian academic, Gennady Osipov to make the project, which he said was in response to a Western model of economics that he believes does not work, accusing it of causing a “systemic crisis”. Yakunin wants Russia to be a “future-zone” that will lead the way in industry and new technologies, rather than simply running with existing ones.
TEPR is projected to cost trillions of dollars, however Yakunin believes the superhighway could be a similar advancement to the project of providing electricity to all of Russia in the ‘20s and ‘30s, giving substantial returns on investment and further solidifying the disconnected areas of Russia with Moscow.
Sadovnichy explained that one of the project’s major concerns is connecting the people of Siberia with the rest of the world. He had met with about 100 heads of various universities in eastern Russia who explained that the greatest problem in the region is isolation and heavy emigration, saying that “up to 30 percent” of university graduates leave the isolated areas for opportunities elsewhere.
TEPR would be the first modern connection from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and would provide the opportunity to transport goods to North America by high-speed rail, allowing Russia full connection with both the East and West.