When the glaciers began to melt at the end of the ice age the ocean levels rose and about 10,500 years ago the waters of the Pacific flooded across the land into the Arctic ocean. But even today the waters in the vicinity of the Bering Strait are only 30 - 50 meters deep. Due to the shallow waters the ocean freezes almost to the ground during winter. In that time Inuit people actually travel across to meet with relatives.
The vicinity of the two land masses on both sides and the relatively shallow waters make the idea of building a bridge here look a bit realistic. In addition the area is comfortably far away from the next tectonic plate, making earth quakes less of an issue. But that doesnít mean there are no problems left.
The History of the Idea
The idea of building a dry connection between Alaska and Siberia is not new at all. In 1890 William Gilpin, the first governor of the Colorado Territory, wrote of a Cosmopolitan Railway. His idea was to link the entire world via a system of railways. Only two years later a young engineer named Joseph Strauss, designer of more than 400 bridges, including the Golden Gate Bride, designed a crossing of the Bering Strait for his major thesis.
But no serious attempts were ever made to put such a concept into reality and discussions on the issue finally died off.
After the completion of the Alaska Highway in 1943 the concept received renewed interest as part of a larger vision for that highway project. The Alaska Highway today reaches from northeastern Brithish Columbia in Canada until Delta Junction, a small town 160 km south of Fairbanks, Alaska. Alaskans then envisioned the highway to be extended until the city of Nome in northwestern Alaska. At that time a tunnel project across the Bering Strait was proposed.