The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) is testing an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone, to inspect the underside of the northbound Gold Star Memorial Bridge in New London on Dec. 15.
“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 CDOT 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.”
CDOT says it selected the northbound bridge for the test because it is difficult to reach via snooper trucks or ropes and climbers. The drone will provide better access for a visual inspection using on-craft cameras. The bridge was most recently inspected in October.
After the inspection is completed, CDOT will review the results and assess the effectiveness of the camera inspection vs. the conventional inspection.
The northbound and southbound portions of the Gold Star Memorial Bridge are the longest bridges in the state, measuring approximately one mile on each side. The main spans are roughly 100 feet above the Thames River.