Maine UAS Bridge Inspections

Statewide, ME

Accuracy and precision are critical when inspecting a bridge, and traditional bridge inspection methods are often complex, expensive, dangerous, and time consuming. Unmanned aerial systems (UAS, or drones) offer a safer method of performing bridge inspections, while both improving accuracy and saving money. VHB is a national leader in this practice; we are currently leading multiple bridge inspections for MaineDOT.

Relying on drones, the VHB team has assessed multiple bridges across Maine without the expense and interruption involved in shutting down and re-routing traffic. This innovative process led us to detect bridge damage that otherwise may not have been discovered with traditional hands-on inspection methods. Due to safety hazards, a relatively young bridge could not easily be physically assessed. Using a drone, the VHB team discovered that significant amounts of concrete had spalled off the backwalls, a timely discovery which allowed MaineDOT to revise the repair plans for the structure. Our track record of success with using drones for inspections and MaineDOT’s wiliness to innovate with VHB have led to additional contracts to perform Annual UAS Inspections and LiDAR scans of 220 bridges.

Three men stand on a small cliffside under a bridge above a large stream. A group of men use an unmanned drone under a bridge crossing over a large river. Three men stand in a grassy area behind three unmanned drones.