Connecticut DOT Keeps Its Eyes on UAVs for Bridge Inspections

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) says it is deploying unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as part of its ongoing mission to improve and evaluate its operations and assess the usefulness and functionality of new technologies.

According to a CTDOT press release from last week, a UAV inspection was scheduled to take place today on the Gold Star Memorial Bridge.

The testing is gauging the ability of the UAV to provide access to and photograph areas of the bridges that are typically difficult to reach via traditional means, such as snooper trucks or ropes and climbers.

The Gold Star Memorial Bridge consists of two distinct structures carrying I-95 northbound and southbound, respectively, over the Thames River between Groton and New London. According to the CTDOT, the structures – at roughly one mile each – are the longest bridges in the state and have main spans rising approximately 100 feet over the Thames River.

Last October, the CTDOT completed a full routine inspection of the Gold Star Memorial Bridge using lifts, snooper trucks, and ropes and climbers.

Upon completion of this new test inspection, the CTDOT will perform an analysis of the results, including the advantages and disadvantages of the system and its effectiveness at gathering detailed information in comparison to previous methods.

“This is an important step for our agency – the testing of a new technology with the potential to improve results, efficiencies and safety for the public,” says Commissioner James P. Redeker. “The willingness to examine new technologies – to innovate and to keep an open mind – is critical if we are to find better ways of doing business, and I applaud the department’s bridge safety division for initiating this test.”


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