The world will get first sustainable highway – in southwestern Georgia. This solar road will be 18 miles long, and it will be first of many as I hope.

More than 164,000 miles of highway stretch across the U.S., enough to circle the world 6.5 times. But only 18 miles of it endeavors to become the world’s first sustainable highway. The Ray C. Anderson Memorial Highway, or “The Ray” for short, is a section of Interstate 85 in southwestern Georgia that has implemented environmentally minded projects in honor of its namesake. Anderson founded carpet manufacturer Interface Inc. and was called the “greenest CEO in America” for his efforts to make his company environmentally sustainable. The Ray was dedicated in his memory in 2014. “We haven’t thought about how to make a road smarter, be able to communicate with drivers,” says Harriet Langford, Anderson’s daughter and founder and president of The Ray, an organization that is dedicated to working on the highway. “We haven’t really thought about the extensive land we have. Just on our 18-mile corridor, we have 250 acres of land that’s just underutilized.” The Ray works to use that land. Kernza wheat, whose deep roots help retain clean water and trap carbon, grows on the shoulder. Bioswales, drainage ditches filled with native Georgia vegetation, capture pollutants during rainstorms. The I-85 visitor center in West Point, Georgia, […]

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