Transantarctic Highway System

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The Transantarctic Highway shield

The Transantarctic Highway System is a proposed series of ice highways that connect the enclaves of the Federated States of Antarctica. Most people in the Federation will never travel between states or urban areas by land, due to the fact that personal automobiles will be virtually non-existent and also because traveling by air is far more practical. However, the fact that most of the Antarctic coastline is unsuitable for shipping ports requires a highway system designed to move goods from ports to major cities. Virtually all traffic along the system will be commercial vehicles and tractor-trailers. The extreme subzero cold of the continental interior prevents standard automobiles from making use of the highway.

An ice road in Russia that resembles a proposed Transantarctic highway

Road Types

The interurban portions of the highways are not actually roads in the non-Antarctic sense of the term, but marked pathways across the ice. Crevasses and areas with rapid ice movement are avoided. Areas of blue ice are preferred, as are rock outcroppings. When the highway nears a settled area, it takes the form of a more traditional road, in some cases paved asphalt on top of ice. In urban areas, the highways become expressways and resemble the freeway system of major cities in the United States. Traffic in these areas is still mostly limited to commercial vehicles, buses, taxi cabs, and tractor trailers. Therefore, the freeway may consist of only one or two lanes of traffic in each direction, as opposed to three or four lanes on their American counterparts.

Way Stations

Approximately every 150 miles along each stretch of interurban Transantarctic highway there is a way station. Assuming 50 miles per hour under optimal weather conditions, this should allow for a refueling or rest break every three hours. Most way stations consist of nothing more than a fuel station, a convenience store, a place to eat, a highway patrol station, and living quarters for the staff stationed there. However, every 450 miles, there is a full-service way station intended to be an overnight layover. These locations will be more like resorts. They will include overnight lodging, restaurants, bars, casinos, brothels, and emergency medical facilities. Their design will follow that of the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. States are responsible for all law enforcement and services along stretches of the highway that are routed through their state sector. Way stations are under the legal jurisdiction of the state in which they exist. East Antarctica has the most miles of highway and the most way stations of all of the seven states. Alyeska has the least.

Staff at way stations will likely be employed by the State corporation in the state that owns the station. Usually, they will work in shifts of two weeks on duty and two weeks off duty, similar to those who work on Alaska's North Slope oil fields. During their on-duty time, they will be housed at the station and will return home for their off-duty time. Winter staff will be reduced in accordance with the reduced traffic.

Way stations are numbered according to their milepost number, taking care to avoid numbers that are duplicated on another highway in the same state. Generally speaking, the southern and western borders of the state are Mile 0. A way station at the southern state line, for example, would be referred to as Way Station 0. Stations may also be named, although there currently is no named way station.

The Highways

Transantarctic 1: The northern terminus is Port Ross, Alyeska. The highway runs south along the spine of the Antarctic Peninsula, through Palmer Land. It is the main highway through Ellsworth. From there, it continues south where it intersects with T-4 and continues around the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf through a small portion of Polaria. From there it continues north through New Swabia to its eastern terminus at Shackleton.

Transantarctic 2: The western terminus is Troll, New Swabia. From there, it continues east through Tor and Shackleton, where it intersects at the terminus of T-1. The highway continues east to Yomato, St. Anastasia, and along the communities of East Antarctica's Indian Ocean coast to Amery. From Amery, it continues east to Davis and Oazisgrad. The eastern terminus is in Devonport. The highway does not continue to Vladiyug due to the high number of crevasses that surround the city.

Transantarctic 3: The western terminus is the junction with T-2 near Joel, East Antarctica. The highway runs east from that point across the highest and coldest section of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, passing near Vostok station. The western terminus is in Victoria Land at the junction with T-4 near Darwin.

A "Penguin Crossing" sign.

Transantarctic 4: The western terminus is in McMurdo City, where the highway serves as the city's main arterial highway. The highway runs mostly along the base of the Transantarctic Mountains, deviating to pass through Darwin. The highway does not pass through Hillary. Instead, access to Hillary is achieved via T-7, which intersects with the highway. The eastern terminus is in Palmer Land at the junction with T-1.

Transantarctic 5: This highway is located entirely on James Ross Island in Alyeska. It has no interurban stretches and is only 24 miles long. The western terminus is the ferry terminal at Puerto Gustavo and the eastern terminus is in Erebus. It is the main highway through Magellan and Hillcrest.

Transantarctic 6: This highway connects Amundsen City with Ellsworth. A western stretch that runs across the Ross Ice Shelf connects T-7 with Darwin.

Transantarctic 7: The northern terminus is in Amundsen City. The highway runs across the Ross Ice Shelf to Hillary and the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, which is the southern terminus.

Transantarctic 8: This highway connects Oazisgrad with T-3 to provide a direct route to Darwin and McMurdo City. Like T-3, it runs across the coldest and most inhospitable part of the continent.

Three-digit highways (1st digit even): These are loops around a city in an urbanized area.

Three-digit highways (1st digit odd): These are spurs into a city in an urbanized area.

Three-digit highways (2nd and 3rd digits are 00): Highways with numbers such as T-200 or T-500 will follow the same conventions as above, except that the "00" indicates that the highway is not a branch of a main transantarctic highway.

Federated States of Antarctica

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