The late Alaska Governor Walter Hickel may be about to have a short stretch of expressway named after him, but another one of his pet "big ideas" is trying to take another step toward potential reality.
Hickel championed the idea of building a transportation, pipeline and communication tunnel across the Bering Strait, first conceived by Tsar Nicholas II in 1905. The idea made little headway during the Cold War, but lately it's back.
And according to a press release, Fyodor Soloview, an Anchorage businessman, is carrying on Hickel's vision.
Soloview has launched a company and a new website to promote just such a project, educate the public about its potential benefits, and attract investors interested in getting in on the ground floor of a project he says will transform the world as we know it, much as the tunnel beneath the English Channel transformed Europe.
"The Eurotunnel's success proves the potential in joining land masses with rail services carrying people and trade across borders," says Soloview. "And in all the world there is perhaps no more obvious opportunity to bring together natural resources and ready markets—than Alaska's Bering Straits."
The cost? According to InterBering, new railroads would need to be built on both sides of a tunnel, estimated to cost up to $70 billion, and the tunnel itself could cost up to $30 billion.
But it would be worth it, argues Soloview. Tens of thousands of jobs, a new shipping route for natural resources and finished goods, and a big bite taken out of Alaska's relative economic isolation.
Find the new website, here.