MoDOT hearing proposal to make I-70 first 'smart interstate high -

MoDOT hearing proposal to make I-70 first 'smart interstate highway'

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A presentation in Jefferson City Wednesday left MoDOT officials with a proposal to make Interstate 70 the nation's first 'smart' highway.

The miles of concrete on I-70 would be like a giant tablet with electronic sensors embedded, which is an idea transportation officials are showing some interest in.

"A variety of sensor networks would provide services to subscribers," said Tim Sylvester, an engineer who said a smart interstate may help solve MoDOT's problem of maintaining roadways with a shrinking budget.

Sylvester estimates the proposed project would cost $3.6 billion, but tax payers would only have to pay one tenth of the price tag.

Once up and running, the smart interstate would open up the possibility of offering subscriptions for commercial fleet operators for driver-less semi trucks to travel between Kansas City and St. Louis.

"It does sound futuristic, but something to consider is all of these technologies are already in use elsewhere. This is us putting them in a combined package," said Sylvester.

Critics of the smart highway believe the computer-generated system could be vulnerable to hackers.

Laura Glenn of O'Fallon, Mo. said she would be wary of the smart highway and driver-less cars until they are perfected.

"Until that point I don't think I want them on the road with me," said Glenn.

MoDOT said that while it is interested in the plan, the huge upfront financial component may stand in the way of making the plan a reality.

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