Italian designers Francesco Colarossi, Luisa Saracino and Giovanna Saracino created a Solar Wind bridge project for a Solar Park Works – a competition in Italy. The aim of the competition was to get designers to imagine new ways to reuse an elevated highway between Bagnera and Scilla in Italy, incorporating new energy efficient solutions. The designers won second place for this project.

The proposed design has 26 wind turbines incorporated in structure of the bridge. They are integrated into the spaces between the bridge’s pillars. The traditional asphalt would be replaced with 20 km (12.4 miles) of solar roadways, consisting of a dense grid of solar cells embedded in the road surface, providing 11.2 million kWh per year. The designers claim this system, combined with the 26 wind turbines underneath the road would provide enough electricity to power approximately 15,000 homes.

In addition to the “solar roadways,” the top surface of the bridge would also include a “green promenade” along its length comprising solar greenhouses for growing local produce. Drivers would be able to stop along the bridge to buy some fresh fruit and vegetables while enjoying panoramic bridge views.

The position of the bridge, as it is elevated above a gorge, is optimal for using wind as an energy source. The same goes for solar power. There might be some concerns about the turbine vibration effects, danger to the local bird population and the general maintenance issues. However, this seems to be an interesting approach to multiple use of highways and it’s well worth dwelling upon.

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