The Ray partnership made official

Published 6:32 pm Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Ray C. Anderson Memorial Highway in Troup County has been making steady progress toward a greener, more sustainable future, and on Monday, partners on the project formalized the next steps for the road.

On Monday, the Georgia Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration and The Ray announced the public-private-philanthropic partnership had signed a formal charter defining their commitment to facilitating, executing and promoting quality projects on The Ray. According to a press release from GDOT and The Ray, the section of highway known as The Ray, is being designed to be an 18-mile living laboratory of transportation on Interstate 85.

“The Ray is a unique opportunity for Georgia DOT and the entire state to lead during a time of great innovation and change in transportation,” said Lynn Westmoreland, state transportation board member. “This broad partnership is also an opportunity for Georgia to attract economic development, research and development, new jobs and tech start-ups in the transportation and infrastructure sectors.”

Prior to the charter, The Ray and GDOT worked collaboratively and successfully for four years at the direction of two unanimous resolutions approved by the State Transportation Board in 2014 and 2016, according to the press release. Since then, the successful partnership has demonstrated several high-profile technology and infrastructure projects, including the first solar road in the U.S., the first drive-over tire safety station in the world, a solar-powered EV charging station, and innovative land management solutions. 

“GDOT has enjoyed an innovative relationship with The Ray, one focused on implementation of innovative concepts designed to improve safety and sustainability,” said John Hibbard, GDOT operations division director.

The charter is meant to solidify that partnership and secure its future. It also adds an element of federal government involvement and support. 

“The Ray is the blueprint for the future of all highways,” said Harriet Langford, president and founder of The Ray. 

“FHWA involvement will help us scale nationally and internationally what works and will maximize our impact.”

The innovative, new technologies are expected to provide major benefits to those driving through Troup County on I-85, while serving as an opportunity for other counties, states and countries to see which innovations in use on The Ray could provide a similar benefit to other areas.

“Our partnership with The Ray and GDOT exemplifies FHWA’s commitment to support our state and local partners in advancing innovative technologies and practices to improve the safety and performance of our transportation system”, said Moises Marrero, FHWA Georgia division administrator.

According to the press release, The Ray Highway, its suite of innovations and the P4 model that enables the infrastructure, research and testing is a scalable and transferable blueprint for other states and countries.  Langford said The Ray is just getting started.