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Historic Route 66 could be the solar-powered road of the future

The Missouri Department of Transportation has announced plans to bring solar-powered, LED-lit road panels to part of Route 66 in a bid to upgrade the retro roadway.

Solar-powered roads could soon be lighting our way across America.
Sam Cornett/Solar Roadways

Route 66 could be set for a seriously high-tech upgrade, turning the "Main Street of America" into a solar-powered, glowing superhighway.

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has announced plans to upgrade a small stretch of the historic roadway, which originally ran from Chicago through America's Midwest to California.

The project is in partnership with Solar Roadways, who creates specially-engineered, solar-powered panels which can support the weight of cars. The panels feature built-in LEDs to create light-up road markings and can be used to generate electricity to donate back to the grid.

While Solar Roadways has won a number of contracts with the US Department of Transport, don't expect glowing arteries criss-crossing the country just yet. MoDOT said it hopes to lay the first panels starting with the Historic Route 66 Welcome Center by the end of the year, The Kansas City Star reports.

But the plans could open the way for plenty more solar roads into the future, letting you get your kicks in futuristic style.