using drones to conduct bridge inspections

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Using Drones to Conduct Bridge Inspections

Preliminary Inspections of Bridge Infrastructure Using Drones

bridge inspections using drones There is a clear advantage for using drones to conduct bridge inspections because drones are easily capable of reaching the heights and depths of these structures. Drones can do this in a fraction of the time without placing individuals in harm’s way.

Drones make short work of revealing cracks, scaling, delamination, disintegration, erosion, alkali reactions and, other common defects.

The discovery of these defects on concrete piers, pier caps, headers, abutments, wing walls, parapets, fascia, soffit, and beams is made easier because they can get up close and capture the defect in high resolution.

As a result, the media adds to or forms a baseline record of defect conditions making changes through time and the associated risk on load capacity, readily recognizable to OSIM inspectors.

Bottom Line – Recon Aerial Infrastructure offers effective bridge inspection services to help municipal managers, bridge inspection engineers and technicians better manage the inspection of their inventory. Efficient bridge inspections are the cornerstone of every bridge management system, ensuring the safety and longevity of this critical infrastructure.

Innovate to Enhance Your Bridge Management System

We are familiar with the requirements of the Ontario Structure Inspection Manual and hence we can provide your staff with quality visual inspection media like:under bridge inspection using drones

  • high-resolution images

  • stitched images

  • video,

  • 3D models.

In addition, we will work with you to target and areas of concern and can even provide a live video feed to loop in collaborative project teams.

In short, we provide general maintenance inspection media on a biannual basis (spring/fall) or once per 2 calendar years to augment your comprehensive bridge management program. 

Consequently, this will allow your OSIM qualified personnel to more thoroughly and conclusively define defects and deterioration that should be addressed.

Using drones for bridge inspections may also enhance your bridge management system. The reason for this is since visual inspection costs are lower, your project dollars go further and for the same or lesser value, you can increase the frequency of inspections. In this case, more is certainly better!

Using Drones to Conduct Visual Inspections of Bridge Infrastructure

using drones to conduct bridge inspections

Whether a bridge is over water or land it’s over something and very often what it spans is a serious hazard to bridge inspectors seeking to appraise the condition of this infrastructure.

Drones offer a much safer approach. For example, inspections conducted spring and fall, when watercourses are at their maximum can now be conducted safely from a distance through a screen. Gathering inspection data in this way reduces the risks by physically removing workers from the proximity to hazards.

In addition, documented visual records(images/video) for a detailed off-site review may reduce the need for iterative inspection work. Limiting the number of site-visits limits exposure to hazardous site conditions, promoting safety.

using drones to inspect bridges

Existing methods for inspecting bridges and collecting data are expensive. Hiring or mobilizing specialty crane equipment will easily cost a minimum of $2000 each day not including, minimum engagement costs, freight, insurance and the requirement for specially trained operators. Equally, deploying scaffolding is both complex and expensive.

Add to this the time in management to bring complex operations like this together, the time required each day to mobilize, the time to management coordinate traffic, costs are significant.

Using drones to inspect bridges is one of the best use cases for this technology. What normally takes weeks and months and significant effort and management can now be done in hours or days. Even if the costs weren’t lowered (and they are), the time savings alone make the case for using drones to conduct bridge inspections.

bridge bearing inspection by drone

In every case, using drones to conduct bridge inspections provides more information to bridge inspectors and project managers faster, offering the opportunity to simply plan better.

Better planning means more effective use of resources, better overall project management, less reactive project positioning, and lowered costs.

Using drones to help facilitate conduct bridge inspections is NOT the panacea BUT it can result in:

  • less traffic interruption

  • a thorough visual record of the existing condition

  • a detailed record to track the inspection-to-inspection changes, deterioration or defects

  • a faster turn-around time to get results/data/complete work

  • project monitoring data to verify work completed (maintenance/rehab)

  • safer working conditions

Bridge Modelling & Inspection

Here an example of how Recon Aerial is using drones to conduct bridge inspections for a client in Ottawa, Ontario. The original spec was to investigate the sub-structure of the bridge for nesting birds prior to deck reconstruction and to provide a preliminary assessment of the substructure condition.

In addition, we were tasked with creating a rudimentary 3D tie point model and mesh for export to Autodesk.

Please get in touch, we are happy to field any questions about how to use drones to conduct bridge inspections! We commit to getting you a cost within a few hours of receiving the address or google map pin to the bridge asset.