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Astérapolis Bridge-Tunnel

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Proposed route of the Asterapolis Bridge-Tunnel. (1694 AN)

The Astérapolis Bridge-Tunnel is a proposed megaproject that is part of the Pan-Euran Highway. The project is located in Constancia and it aims to build a 312.65 km bridge-tunnel system that consists of three cable-stayed bridges, an undersea tunnel, and several artificial islands that will cross the Gulf of Aqaba, connecting the city of Astérapolis, on the island of Idolgi.

The proposed bridge-tunnel project is designed to provide uninterrupted freeway traffic flow, as opposed to the current configuration where a system of ferries and transports constantly ferried freight and passengers back and forth between Astérapolis and the rest of the country. The estimate cost of the project remains undisclosed, but it estimated to be €107.16 billion New Alexandrian écu.

First proposed in 1691 AN, the project met with prominent opposition by the owner of one of the largest ferry companies in Astérapolis, Thanasis Agnakos of Agnakos Transport, who believed competition from a publicly owned bridge-tunnel system would reduce revenues for his company and for the Astérapolis ferry transport industry in general. The project was shelved as Agnakos pursued legal recourse in Constancian courts, forcing parties to spend greatly to defend themselves in court. Agnakos even filed lawsuits in Nouvelle Alexandrie, as the project had gained significant interest and support from investors of that country.

In 1693 AN, the Thraci expansion led to relations with the rest of the Pan-Euran Highway participants souring, dashing the hopes of securing the initial route which connected through the Thraci Confederation. During diplomatic talks in Fontainebleau, Alduria, the route of the Pan-Euran Highway was revised to pass through the Southern Aldurian Riviera and enter Constancia north of Arak. In 1684 AN, soon after announcing the new capital, Petropolis, the Autokrator of Constancia appointed a consortium, the Astérapolis Bridge-Tunnel Consortium, to design and build the bridge-tunnel system, with heavy financial and technical support from Nouvelle Alexandrie and private firms. The project is not fully funded, though it has secured funding from the governments of Constancia and Nouvelle Alexandrie for its design and planning.

In 1704, immediately upon the ascension of Basileus Giakoumis, the Imperial Constancian Government led by his son Prince Iñigo, who was also the Mesazon, approved the plan and construction for a bridge connecting the northern Prosgeiosi Basileus to Astérapolis on the island of Idolgi. The plan was shelved again upon presentation of the Ministry of Defense and Gulf of Aqaba Authority of national security considerations.

As compensation for their troubles, the Astérapolis Bridge-Tunnel Consortium members were, with the help of the Euran Economic Union, granted preferred contractor status with the Ministry for Railroads, Reconstruction, and Infrastructure of Zeed effective 1705. Its debts were purchased at a discount by the Eastern South-Sea Business Company.


Astérapolis Bridge-Tunnel Consortium

The Astérapolis Bridge-Tunnel Consortium (ABTC) is a multi-national corporation that is a public-private partnership between Nouvelle Alexandrie, Constancia, the Suren Confederacy, and 28 private contractors and companies in all of those nations. The Euran Economic Union and its headquarters at Fontainebleau, Nouvelle Alexandrie serves as the meeting place for the ABTC and its officials and representatives. The Consortium has been made responsible for administering the construction of the Astérapolis Bridge-Tunnel. Once the bridge is complete, the ABTC will also manage the bridge-tunnel system's operation, including setting and collecting tolls via a build-operate-transfer scheme.


Thanasis Agnakos

Thanasis Agnakos sued the governments of Constancia and Nouvelle Alexandrie to stop the advance of the proposal when it was first proposed in 1861 AN. He released a proposal to build more ferry connections (which he would have owned) instead. Industry insiders and former employes suggest that Agnakos was incensed by the possibility of losing profits from reduced ferry crossings as more and more people decide to take a train or drive through the Astérapolis Bridge-Tunnel and connect them directly to Astérapolis.

After a costly legal battle, both lawsuits were dismissed in 1683 AN, with Agnakos turning to the cameras during the last of the proceedings outside the courtroom and claiming victory in the press against the "largesse of state planning".

White elephant project

Critics in Constancia and in Nouvelle Alexandrie have attacked the estimated cost of the project as too much, that it is a waste of taxpayers’ money. To support their arguments, they point to the early designs of the bridge-tunnel system, which proposes to prescribe restrictive criteria for drivers to use the bridge with their own vehicle.

See also