The Michigan Department of Transportation is now using 3D cameras to help with their bridge inspections.
Federal law requires bridges to be inspected every two years. Inspectors look for cracks, potholes and other problems. MDOT says in the past, this used to be a visual inspection on the side of the road that would slow down traffic.
With the help of researchers at the Michigan Tech Research Institute in Ann Arbor, MDOT can now use cameras to get a better visual of the bridges.
Researcher Rick Dobson says the cameras will keep both inspectors and drivers safe.
“Safety for the inspectors – you can drive over a bridge and collect all the information you need without having inspectors walk along the bridge deck,” said Dobson.
The cameras also give inspectors a better idea of what is happening on the bridge, allowing them to revisit the image again at a later date. This helps them collect data as they monitor the bridge.
Around 75 percent of MDOT's highway bridges are 40 or more years old. MDOT says using this new technology will help in preservation.