Super-Long Bridges-When Will They Be Built?

Anybody know when the Straits of Gibraltar will be bridged? Also, the Straits of Messina (Sicily to the mainland)-what is the start date for this?
Anybody know how much these will cost?
And…any MORE discussion about the feasibility of a BERING STRAITS bridge?

I don’t know how much bridges cost, but they ain’t cheap! I’ve never thought about the locations you mentioned, but I know that some people have asked about a bridge between Vancouver and Vancouver Island. The strait is very deep, and it would be extremely difficult to overcome the technical problems with building a bridge there.

When I was very little, San Diegans had to take a ferry to get to Coronado, or else drive all the way around the harbour. Then they built the Coronado bridge and getting across the harbour became quick and easy. The distance isn’t great, and the benefit of putting up a bridge outweighed the expense.

And that’s what it comes down to, ulitmately. Is the cost justified by the utility? Are ferries adequate to the job? Is there a better solution than a bridge; for example, the Channel Tunnel? Is the cost of the alternate solution justified by the utility? If a bridge is chosen, will it restrict the operation of ships that must use the same channel? Will it stand up to a collision?

About the Bering bridge: Suppose one is built. How will it be affected by continental drift? What are the speeds of the tectonic plates involved, anyway?

Not to mention the desirability of such a useless bridge. Why would we build it, just because we can? There are no roads to the Seward Peninsula, few towns over a few hundred inhabitants, no industry. It’s a thousand miles from Anchorage through marshy, inhospitable tundra. It would cost more to build a road to the bridge than the bridge itself. And that goes double for the Chukchi Peninisula on the Russian side.

Why would we want to build a multi-billion dollar bridge to nowhere?

The currently mooted Straits of Messina project is planned to begin contruction in late 2005 and be completed in 2012.

As for any Bering Straits project the main question is probably not how but why. Eastern Siberia and Alaska aren’t exactly major centers of population or industry.

This Wikipedia page says South America and Africa are moving apart 3 cm (about 1.2 in) per year.

I couldn’t see the point in a Bering Sea bridge even if it can be done. It would merely connect two thinly populated, very cold areas. It wouldn’t be used enough to justify the expense.

Though driving to Europe sounds like it would be fun!

I attended a talk by T.Y. Lin who was the guy proposing a bridge from the US to (at the time) the USSR across the Bering Straits.

He detailed the challenges and the proposed design. The purpose was, per the title, more symbolic than practical, obviously there’s not a lot of traffic up there. The idea was to literally bridge the gap between the two countries and help defuse cold-war tensions by working on it together.

I think that Mr. Lin passed away a few years ago and the idea of the bridge went by the wayside - especially these days spending all that money for that project doesn’t make much sense to anyone.

Well that really puts the kibosh on the highly anticipated Rio de Janeiro-Cape Town Connector.:smiley:

At that rate maybe someday we can build a South America-Africa bridge across the Pacific River.

You fools! It is as easy to go from Africa to South America as it is to go from England to Western Europe in Risk! Although, I still have some interesting ideas for Yakutsk…

There is a plan in the works – not to bridge the Straits of Gibraltar, but to dig a tunnel, a la the Chunnel, linking Spain and Morocco. [ur]

Once when I very briefly worked in Miami, a couple of my young Cuban-American coworkers were absolutely certain that one day, not only will Cuba be a state of the Union, but there will be a bridge across the Florida Straits, linking Key West with Havana. If ever built, that would be the longest bridge in the history of the world.

Here’s that link again:

There’s also been a plan floated to dig a tunnel linking China and Taiwan:

There was an interesting program (now what was it called??? “Extreme Engineering,” maybe?) on one of the cable channels, and they did a pretty good job of getting your bearings straight on the Bering Strait connector, and why it would be tough.

Basically, only addressing the engineering problems, the extreme cold weather would cause a lot of problems, and another problem would be flows of ice floes. Some bridges are built to expect them, and they just ride up and buckle under their own weight–but the ones that flow thru the Bering Strait are the Big Time in ice flows–and not for the faint-of-heart bridge.

Oh, transportation of materials was another problem. Wish I had taped it. It was really interesting.

Did they explain why anybody would want to build one? As noted above, the unbridged Bering Strait is not exactly a transportation bottleneck. There’s not a lot of ship traffic between Alaska and Siberia.

Now, if both Russia and the U.S. had high-speed rail networks – then I could see the value of a Bering – tunnel, not bridge. Like the Chunnel. A high-speed rail link between the Old World and the New! That could be valuable. But only if

(1) the Trans-Siberian Railway is upgraded to high-speed; and

(2) the U.S. and Canada build a Pacific Coast Line, running, say, from Los Angeles up all the way to Anchorage and then due north to Fairbanks and then west to Nome.

Until those two things are in place, what’s the point of a trans-Bering bridge or tunnel?

No, they didn’t since–so far as I know–no one does want to.

There is no need for a connector, and I did not imply such. My point addressed simply a few of the engineering obstacles that would be in place even if the supporting infrastructure already existed, and some amount of demand warranted the consideration.


There is already a very good rail connection from Anchorage to Fairbanks.


The program did mention that the Bering Strait Bridge would be part of a new network of highways connecting that desolate region with the rest of the planet. I wish they’d spent more than 15 seconds talking about that part, it looked pretty cool.

They also said that the bridge would include a pipeline to pump Russia’s excess oil reserves to the gas-hungry United States, which was really the only part of the plan that sounded remotely feasable.

I was talking about high-speed rail, which we have nowhere in the U.S. at present. Considering the vast distances involved between settled areas on both sides of the Bering Straits, nothing less than high-speed rail would make such a project worthwhile.

Well, actually, Amtrak has a “high-speed” link called the Acela Express between Washington and Boston ( – but from what I’ve read, its average speed is only 110 mph – the ones in Europe and Japan can top 200 mph.

There’s an organization called New Trains which is lobbying for a high-speed rail network throughout the U.S. (

BTW – if this topic interests you, check out William Henry Harrison’s AH novel, A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah! (Tor Books, 1991). The engineer Augustus Washington (direct descendant of the traitor George Washington, hanged after his rebellion failed), is building a submarine rail tunnel from Liverpool to New York (by way of the Azores), linking Her Majestys’ dominions on both sides of the ocean sea!

Harrison actually makes you think it could work.