Just two weeks after an innovative solar paneled highway opened, thieves have already targeted the cutting-edge roadway. The approximately 1.2 miles stretch of road cost around $3 million to construct, including over 10,000 solar panels to provide additional power to the city and featuring coils to charge electric cars in motion, but parts have already gone missing.
During an inspection, conducted on January 2, a section that measured about six feet long and six inches wide was found to be missing on the Jinan City Expressway in Shandong, East China.
According to the Qilu Evening News, as reported by the Daily Mail, the segment appeared to have been removed by a professional team, allowing the thieves to make off with the technology.
The Qilu Transportation Development Group, an infrastructure company owned by the state, built the highway. Along with the solar panels and electric car charging capabilities, the road was also developed to be safer as the technology could warm the roadway to melt snow and ice.
More than 10,000 solar panels were used in the design, which was connected to the power grid and used to power the coils for the charging of electric cars as vehicle owners drive over them.
The Jinan City Expressway is actually the second solar roadway to be constructed by the state-owned infrastructure company. The first, which is also in Jinan, took approximately 10 months to build and was completed in September.
Neither of Qilu Transportation Development Group’s solar roads was the first to open, as a 0.6-mile stretch of roadway in Tourouvre-au-Perche in France actually holds that honor.
The damaged roadway has since been repaired by workers, restoring full functionality, and the stretch of highway was reopened to the public.