The most famous highway in the United States of America is getting a serious upgrade. Route 66, also known as Will Rogers Highway or the Main Street of America, has been a longtime favorite reference in many country songs, movies, and popular television shows, and for good reason. The Mother Road was one of the first highways in the original U.S. highway system. It runs for 2,448 miles across Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
The famous highway is about to change the world again! Route 66 will be the first public highway to use solar panels thanks to an Idaho start-up called Solar Roadways. The solar roadways will consist of hexagon shaped solar panels that conduct clean energy. They plan to start the project on a walkway in Conway, Missouri, and then extend to the main highway.
The start up calculated that if all the walkways and highways were covered in these solar panels, we could generate three times as much energy as we utilize. As a result, the cost of energy would go down, and the U.S. would be much more environmentally friendly. The solar roadways would be capable of much more than generating energy. According to Upworthy, “The panels are intelligent — meaning they can be programed to act as roadway signs and can be changed as needed to alert drivers to animal crossings or downed trees, and they can heat up in the winter to prevent ice from forming.” Then the government would not have to spend as much money on up-keeping the roads by painting and signs and snow removal.
The only downside of these new smart roads is that they will initially cost more money than your regular asphalt road. Another concern for the smart roads is that they could wear down more easily than regular roads and would need to be replaced more often. Don’t worry though, because the Solar Roadways team is working on all of these concerns as we speak! Also, eventually these roads will pay for themselves.