The fabled North-East Passage, finding which was the dream and the death of many an ancient mariner, may not be realised till global warming melts the ice-caps; but such a path may be broken by land rather than by sea.
Ambitious plans to create the world's longest superhighway could see Britain's roads linked with America. Proposals see the giant route stretching 12,400 miles across western Russia to the Bering Strait and on to Alaska through Siberia.
If the plans fructify, a British tourist could drive through the Channel Tunnel and across Europe, and then through Russia to reach the US.
A huge rail network is also being planned to run across the superhighway alongside oil and gas pipes.
Russian transport bosses see the country as a possible transport hub, acting as a bridge between North America, Asia and Europe, according to the Siberian Times.
This would bring the equivalent of billions of pounds to the country's economy and result in a huge boost to tourism.
Russia's head of railways Vladimir Yakunin presented the idea to Vladimir Putin.
Yakunin said, ''This is an inter-state, inter-civilization project. It should be an alternative to the current model, which has caused a systemic crisis. The project should be turned into a world 'future zone', and it must be based on leading, not catching, technologies."
The head of Russian Academy of Science Vladimir Fortov put a slight damper, saying the project is 'very ambitious and expensive'.
He added, "It will solve many problems in the development of the vast region. It is connected with social programs, and new fields, new energy resources, and so on.
"The idea is that basing on the new technology of high-speed rail transport we can build a new railway near the Trans-Siberian Railway with the opportunity to go to Chukotka and Bering Strait and then to the American continent."
The plan, which would call for trillions of dollars, could create 10 to 15 new industries, new cities, new jobs and aid development of Siberia and the Far East.
Fortov said that the idea was based on a new technology of high-speed rail transport, with which they could build a new railway near the Trans-Siberian Railway and travel to Chukotka, Bering Strait and then to the American continent.
But the plan remains largely a Russian brainchild; and with the country at loggerheads with the West, it is hard to see collaboration on such a vast project except in the long term, by when political, social and environmental upheavals can be expected.