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thebillshark

Highway Canopies

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Had an idea while stuck on I-75 for a sun delay the other day: highway canopies.

 

For high volume highways a simple hard canopy structure could provide several benefits:

 

Alleviate traffic congestion caused by sun delays

 

Alleviate traffic congestion caused by rain (hard rainfall)

 

Prevent traffic accidents caused by rain (roads are slick when it rains the first time in awhile)

 

Alleviate traffic congestion and prevent traffic accidents caused by snow and ice

 

Reduce the need for salt to be applied thus extending the lifespan of the road

 

Eliminate potholes and the damage they cause to cars

 

Could reduce noise pollution by installing sound absorbing tiles on the underside of the canopy

 

Could reduce light pollution by having LED lighting under the canopy instead of huge light poles

 

Could install solar panels on top (a much better place for them than the “solar roads” concept that keeps getting floated about)

 

Challenges:

 

Exhaust- You could have gaps in them with staggered overhangs to deal with the exhaust (and possibly fans.)

 

Lighting- in addition to LED lighting you could have light diffusing skylights to let light in during the day.

 

Would need street cleaning- but could be done during low volume times.

 

The billboard lobby wouldn’t be happy.

 

Forming a continuous canopy with existing overpasses would be challenging.

 

High costs would be the biggest challenge. The economic benefits to users, highway maintenance, and police and fire would be spread out and hard to capture. This is where solar panels could help.

 

 


www.cincinnatiideas.com

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I've never heard of a sun delay.  Sunglasses don't do the job?

 

Nope. Not when the sun is directly over the horizon.

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Sounds like a fantastic idea.  As soon as we figure out how to raise the money to maintain our existing infrastructure, that is definitely an idea worth considering.

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Sounds like a fantastic idea.  As soon as we figure out how to raise the money to maintain our existing infrastructure, that is definitely an idea worth considering.

 

Until then we'll keep pouring road salt on everything.

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Has this ever been done anywhere?

 

Not to my knowledge- but it may be a concept waiting for several techs to come together like LED lighting and solar panels. (Looking ahead, a changeover to an electric vehicle fleet could even change the ventilation requirements and thus the canopy design.) Like bikeshare was made possible by GPS tech, wireless communication, computer technologies, and bikes coming together.  Or, it could just be unfeasible for other reasons.


www.cincinnatiideas.com

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They do snow sheds on mountain roads, but those typically aren't interstate highways.  The big problem, aside from the immense cost of covering an interstate highway, would be that vehicles that drive off the road could hit the upright supports and bring a big section crashing down on the roadway.  That wouldn't be such a problem on an urban stretch with jersey barriers. 

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