Missouri Is Transforming Historic Route 66 Into A Solar Roadway

Credit: Solar Roadways
Credit: Solar Roadways

For years, eco-entrepreneurs Scott and Julie Brusaw have been developing solar panels that can replace asphalt and generate energy as cars drive over them. Not until recently, however, did their brilliant innovation gain traction in the U.S.

Now, officials are planning to renovate historic Route 66 in Missouri by replacing the road with the solar panels. Clean Technica reports that the Solar Roadways will be installed on Route 66 as part of Missouri’s Road to Tomorrow initiative. The ultimate aim of the initiative is to focus on improvements like incorporating renewable energy and smart highways.

Tom Blair, Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) engineer who heads Road to Tomorrow, said:

“It gets Missouri and MoDOT prepared for 21st century innovations. We expect them to be in place, I’m hoping, by the end of this year, maybe before snow flies.”

Blair hopes that renovating Route 66 results in other state officials improving their own roads with Solar Roadways. After all, the tempered-glass roads are intelligently designed and are capable of producing revenue.

He states:

“If [Solar Roadway’s] version of the future is realistic, if we can make that happen, then roadways can begin paying for themselves.”


In the case that this is the first time you’ve heard about Solar Roadways, prepare to be impressed. According to the Idaho-based company, the energy-generating roads can be described as

“a modular system of specially-engineered solar panels that can be walked and driven upon. Our panels contain LED lights to create lines and signage without paint [and] contain heating elements to prevent snow and ice accumulation.”

A significant benefit of the panels is that the microprocessors in each panel make it possible for the panels to communicate with each other, a central control center, and even driving cars. And, if a panel is broken, it can easily be repaired because it is modular. That means less time sitting in construction zones.

Inhabitat relays that Solar Roadways were first funded through a research contract from the U.S. Department of Transportation. When TrueActivist first reported about the game-changing panels, an IndieGoGo campaign had been set up, which ended up raising an addition $2 million.

If all goes well with the section of Route 66 in Missouri, you could soon be driving on Solar Roadways in other states.

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