KC entrepreneur envisions I-70 as ‘first smart interstate’ in US

The Gateway Arch sits in the background of Interstate 70 in St. Louis | Courtesy of Doug Kerr/Flickr
Tim Sylvester estimates it would cost up to $4 billion to realize his vision for a “smart” I-70. | Courtesy of Doug Kerr/Flickr

As debate swirls around how to fix the state’s crumbling roads, a Missouri engineer envisions turning Interstate 70 into the “first smart interstate” in the U.S.

Tim Sylvester, 33, is the founder of Kansas City-based startup Integrated Roadways, and he’s part of a new wave of engineers hoping to convert aging infrastructure into high-tech conduits for the automobile traffic of the future.

A variety of innovations for roadway upkeep are already being tested other places: “self-healing” roads that produce bacteria to fill cracks; heated highways to help melt snow and ice; and sensors to provide real-time data about heavy trucks traversing roadways.

Sylvester will present his plan for I-70 at an April 1 meeting of the Missouri Transportation Commission. The engineer estimates his vision of a smart interstate would cost between $3.6 billion and $4 billion to build, and he’s seeking $4 million for a pilot project to test the idea.

Read more from the Kansas City Star

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