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  • The world seems like it's becoming a smaller and smaller place

  • all the time.

  • Travel times between the Earth's continents have never been shorter

  • then they are today.

  • But one thing you still can't do is drive around the entire world.

  • Sure, you could always just fly,

  • but wouldn't it be great if instead if you could go on a road trip

  • between Europe and North America.

  • Or North America to Asia.

  • Is it actually possible to build a global highway system

  • that would connect all of the world's continents?

  • And if it is,

  • then should we actually do it?

  • To begin exploring the answers to these two questions,

  • Here's Sam from the brand new channel,

  • Half as Interesting

  • To discuss the current problems that would face a

  • global highway sytem.

  • SAM: So, how connected is the current road system?

  • So there are basically four distinct major road systems on Earth.

  • The biggest one being this one:

  • The Eur...

  • Euraf...

  • Eurafrasian one?

  • The one spanning Europe, Asia, and Africa.

  • These three continents are all connected by land.

  • So, it makes sense that they're all connected by road.

  • Right?

  • Wrong.

  • Because I lied.

  • It's impossible to cross from Africa to Asia fully on land

  • because of this:

  • The Suez Canal.

  • This is the canal that make the trip from Europe to Asia

  • by boat,

  • This:

  • Instead of this:

  • The only physical connect between the two continents is

  • therefore; the three bridges spanning the canal.

  • But the road system is still contiguous,

  • so it still counts as one big road system.

  • Speaking of big things,

  • the 6th largest country in the world,

  • and the first smallest continent,

  • Australia,

  • has its own major road system.

  • But there's not much more to say about it,

  • other than if you go a little bit this way,

  • You get to America

  • Both of them.

  • Much like Africa and Asia,

  • The Americas are technically not connected because of

  • a man-made canal.

  • The Panama Canal.

  • But that's not a problem because of multiple bridges spanning the narrow waterway.

  • The problem is this:

  • The Darién Gap.

  • Not a single road crosses this desolate swamp land spanning over the Panama-Colombia border.

  • The area is overrun with paramilitary forces and drug lords.

  • There's just not enough demand to make braving the

  • marshy and dangerous area to build a road worth it.

  • So, that's why North America and South America have

  • two completely separate unconnected road systems.

  • REALLIFELORE: So, to recap, these 4 areas all have preexisting

  • road networks but none of them connect with one another.

  • So, how can we fix that and live in a world where you

  • can drive from New York to London and back again?

  • Let's imagine that this global highway would originate in

  • Cape Town, South Africa,

  • and end in Punta Arenas in Chile:

  • the southern most city in the world with a population over 100,000 people.

  • The current highway system from Cape Town to Kinshasa,

  • is fine and would take 51 hours to complete the whole drive.

  • But once in Kinshasa, our first problem arises:

  • There is currently no bridge over the Congo River

  • between Kinshasa and Brazzaville.

  • So, the only current way across is by a ferry.

  • In order for our global highway to work,

  • we need to build a bridge across which would cost around

  • $444 million.

  • Assuming that it's built,

  • the drive from Brazzaville to Eddalya in Morrocco

  • can continue just fine with existing highways.

  • The total driving time all of Africa so far stands at 7 days and 6 hours.

  • But here we encounter one of the largest problems to our global highway:

  • The Mediterranean Sea.

  • Luckily, at this point though, the sea separates Morrocco from Spain

  • by only 14km [8.7 miles].

  • But it's not the length that's the problem,

  • it's the depth of the water.

  • Which is up to 900 meters [2952.76 feet] deep at some parts.

  • It would be a gigantic engineering challenge to construct.

  • And the estimated cost is somewhere around $24 billion.

  • But let's assume that it's built and you're now across from Africa,

  • in the town of Alegciras in Spain.

  • You can now drive all the way from this town to the other side of Eurasia

  • in Magadan, Russia on currently existing highways.

  • And that drive alone would take 7 days and 11 hours.

  • When combined with your trip from Cape Town,

  • the total drive form there to Magadan would take 14 days and 17 hours to complete.

  • In order to connect more people on the global highway,

  • UK citizens could transport their vehicles through the Chunnel

  • and begin their journey on French highways on the way to Magadan.

  • If you live on Australia, New Zealand, or Indoneasia,

  • then i'm sorry, but it's probably not possible to build a bridge

  • connecting you guys to the system with our current technology.

  • the distances that Australia and New Zealand are from everything else

  • means that any bridge build would have to be at least

  • 165 km [103 mi] over open ocean.

  • Which is not very feasible.

  • So basically if the rest of the system is built,

  • if you're living just about anywhere in Eurasia

  • you would be able to drive to Magadan.

  • But getting from there to North America is perhaps the greatest

  • challenge that the system faces.

  • This is a map of the Russian highway system.

  • And as you can notice, this entire area here is full of nothing.

  • Over 2,000 km [1242.742 mi] of brand new highways

  • would have to be built through this vast and freezing land

  • to connect to the small village of Uelen near the Bering Strait.

  • From here mainland Alaska is only 82 km [51 mi] away.

  • But a bridge that long alone because of these:

  • The Diomede Islands,

  • luckily in the center between Alaska and Russia.

  • Because of them, you only need three separate smaller bridges

  • instead of one long one.

  • And the water depth is actually quite shallow

  • at only 55 meters [180.446 feet] deep.

  • But still due to the freezing temperatures here,

  • the challenge of building it would be enormous

  • and the bridge would likely cost an insane $105 billion to complete.

  • And then there's the problem that the closest town in Alaska

  • is 160 km [99 mi] away from where the bridge would be constructed at.

  • So, another highway would have to be built out to there.

  • But this town is even further separated from the rest of the road system in Alaska.

  • Which means even more highways would have to be built

  • entirely from scratch to connect all the way to Fairbanks.

  • From here, finally, you can take existing roadways all the way down

  • on a 129 hour drive to Yaviza, Panama.

  • The existing road system ends here at the aforementioned,

  • Darién Gap.

  • So if the area could become a little more safe, and a highway was built across it in the future,

  • you could drive even further all the way down to Punta Arenas in Chile.

  • The southern most major city in the world.

  • To recap all of this one more time,

  • These area would have to see some major construction projects to build the global highway system.

  • The longest route would from Cape Town to Punta Arenas,

  • and it would be over 52,000 km [32,311 mi] long.

  • Take you over 28 days of driving time.

  • And the entire system would likely cost at least $233 billion to build.

  • That's a little over 1% of the United States's GDP.

  • Or about 38% of what the United States military spends in one full year.

  • That may not seem like very much until you remember,

  • you could always just fly from Cape Town to Punta Arenas

  • for about $2,000.

  • And it would only take you about 27 hours instead of 675 hours.

  • So this video was done in a collaboration with new channel,

  • "Half As Interesting"

  • So if you'd like to learn more about the longest possible drivable route in the world today,

  • then please go ahead and check out his video next.

  • If you enjoyed what you just watched, then I hope that you'll subscibe to my channel by clicking here:

  • If you would like to directly support my channel, you can visit my patreon by clicking here:

  • And I hope to see you again next friday for another brand new video then.

The world seems like it's becoming a smaller and smaller place

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A2 US highway road system km cape town drive

What If We Built a Road Around the World?

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    wstwr12345 posted on 2018/11/04
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