Thursday, June 30, 2016

You could soon get your kicks on a Route 66 solar panel walkway, in Missouri

Historic US Route 66 will soon have a solar-powered walkway at the welcome center in Conway, Mo., Eli Chen reports for St. Louis Public Radio. The Missouri Department of Transportation said the "pilot project will examine how feasible it is to use the technology before the department considers putting it on more roads and sidewalks." The hope is to have the panels installed by the end of the year. (Solar Roadways photo)

Hexagonal glass solar panels made by an Idaho-based startup, Solar Roadways, will be "equipped with LED lights to improve road safety and heat elements to prevent snow and ice accumulation," Chen writes. The project "marks the first time the company has collaborated with a state transportation department. The effort is supported by MoDOT's Road to Tomorrow initiative, a program announced last year to research and implement innovative technologies to reconstruct Interstate 70."

Tom Blair, MoDOT's assistant district engineer in St. Louis, told Chen, "If this becomes successful, then yeah, you could be ultimately talking about solar roadways we drive on, that melts snow and has the potential to pay for themselves. I've been at this for a long time and I've never seen a road that's created its own revenue stream yet." (Route 66 Search map)

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