We’re not quite to the point of Back To The Future II when, “Where we’re going we don’t need… roads” was said so eloquently by Dr. Emmett Brown. We still need roads as we don’t have flying cars yet so commercial paving contractors need not worry for now, but what is the future of our roadways?
It seems like everyone is focused on the self driving cars that are peppered throughout our news feeds, but no matter how advanced those vehicles are, they still need a surface to drive on. That is where commercial paving contractors still have a part to play. Asphalt and concrete are still the primary materials for all the major roadways in the country, though these materials have gotten more advanced over the years to be more durable and more environmentally friendly, they are approaching their limit of innovation.
When you think of commercial paving contractors, you may not think that high-tech computerized building materials would come into play, but that is where we’re possibly heading. A company by the name of Solar Roadways Inc. is on the precipice of real world testing of their solar powered, computerized roadway panels in Missouri on Route 66 in 2017. These panels offer many benefits over more traditional materials like solar energy production and the elimination of potholes and asphalt repair to name a few. They’re also able to communicate between themselves and a central control for a variety of reasons. These panels are also designed to be expandable for increased functionality in the future for features that haven’t even been thought of yet.
Does this mean an end for commercial paving contractors? Not in the least. There’s still a lot of asphalt out there that needs the attention of a commercial paving contractor to keep motorists safe on their journeys. If high-tech roadways become the norm, we’ll just have to change our skill set a bit, but don’t worry, we’re adaptable.