Building the World

23% Solution


Lake Baikal, southern shore. Image: wikimedia commons.

Lake Baikal, world’s deepest lake, contains 23% of the world’s freshwater reserves. The size of Switzerland, Lake Baikal posed an almost insurmountable challenge to builders of Russia’s Trans-Siberian Railway. At first, travelers traversed the 250-meter (400-mile) lake by boat; during winter, traditional sleighs were used. Finally, 200 bridges and 33 tunnels completed the rail route, hugging the Baikal’s southern shore. The Trans-Siberian Railway inspired Wallace Hickel, twice governor of Alaska, and Mead Treadwell, current lieutenant governor, to visit Russia to consider development of a link across the Bering Strait. In 2012, Ernst Frankel described the potential of such a route. How can the environmental integrity of lakes, rivers, and oceans be preserved while exploring transport options?

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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