There is a criticism of the idea to cover roads as being too costly at $3 million per acre.
I had indicated further into the article ways to reduce the cost of covering the roads by using street lamps and telephone polls and existing two story and taller buildings to support the EFTE covering awning. This would reduce the amount of labor for the raised supports so that just the roof portion would need to be built and afixed to the existing supports. I also suggested that higher volume production could reduce costs and that alternative lower costs materials may be investigated.
I was also indicating that the detailed map of traffic accidents be used to guide where the worst current roads are that would most benefit from having reduction of traffic accidents. Traffic accidents cost money and covering sections of road could reduce traffic accidents on a section by 18-30% by eliminating increased accidents caused by weather.
A mile long section of road that consistently is producing one traffic fatality per year is costing society an extra $1-10 million/year. Cost of the death, cost of medical care, property damage and cost of the traffic jam. So mile long sections of roads with 2 or more traffic fatalities per year could justify $50 million in improvements with a payback in 5 years.
Kazakhstan recently built the Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center for $400 million that covers 37 acres. That $400 million includes a 7 story building over the entire inside. The EFTE (strong teflon) cover costs less than $100 million. A 5 acre greenhouse in the UK costs about $50 million for its EFTE cover structure. The costs of going larger decrease the cost per acre.
Also, note that there are other proposals for making roads energy generating with solar or thermal energy conversion. The cost is about $7000 per 12 foot section or $6.16 million per mile (incremental cost for the solarization of the road and it will have to be maintained with cars driving over it.
According to the Michigan Department of Transportation, the average cost to build 1 mile of freeway through an urban area costs approximately $39 million, while a mile of freeway through a rural area costs approximately $8 million. So there needs to be perspective on costs.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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