Skip to main content

Virginia Tech Smart Highway Snow Making System. Blacksburg, Virginia.

WRA provided design services to VDOT for the design of an all-weather testing facility to be incorporated into Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University’s Smart Highway.

VDOT and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) wanted to be able to test varying roadway conditions, influenced by weather, on driver and material performance. WRA was asked to design a snow-making/rain system for a half-mile section along the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute Smart Highway. The all-weather system is capable of artificial snow production of 4 inches per hour (based on suitable weather conditions) and varying rain intensities with varying droplet sizes. The design components of the facility include a 3,000 gpm high pressure water pumping station (500 psi), over 4 miles of high pressure air and water supply lines, 75 snow/rain-making towers, a 500,000 gallon water storage tank and related site work/grading for the site.

Virginia Tech Smart Highway Snow Making System
Project Highlights


Mechanical design included the design of all aspects of the 3,000 gpm high pressure pumping station including pumps, controls, HVAC, surge protection and space for chillers and air compressors.


Architectural design included the water pumping station exterior.


Geotechnical design included the pumping station and clearwell, foundation design for the 500,000 gallon water storage tank and trench as well as support details for the high pressure piping lines.

Civil/Land Development

Civil design included the site layout for the tank, pumping station, all pipeline design, spacing of the snow/rain-making towers and coordination with all other aspects of the Smart Highway project.


Electrical design included all aspects of the pump station design including the selection of variable frequency drives, electrical feed for the station and all interior electrical work.