The North Split interchange, just northeast of downtown Indianapolis, merges traffic from Interstate 70 with traffic from Interstate 65. First built in 1968, the interchange is the second-most trafficked interchange in the state — 214,000 motorists use it every day — and it has reached full capacity.
From an article in ASCE Source by T.R. Witcher
Starting in November 2020, the Indiana Department of Transportation embarked on a reconstruction of the interchange, which will include the restoration of 50 bridges and 27 lane-miles of new pavement. The new interchange will also improve safety and reduce bottlenecks by eliminating “weaving,” where streams of traffic are forced to cross paths with one another.
Jacksonville, Florida-based construction company Superior Construction won the bid to construct the new interchange, and one condition of its contract with INDOT was that Superior would conduct monthly aerial surveys of the construction site.
“INDOT is continually evolving and finding new, innovative ways to document progress,” said Kyleigh Cramer, public relations director for INDOT’s Greenfield District, which includes Indianapolis. “Drone surveying has helped not only the North Split team measure progress, but it’s been a great tool to show the public what is happening on a project that is in the heart of Indianapolis.”
Increasingly, state transportation departments are turning to drones for various tasks, including surveying. According to a 2019 report by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, more than seven out of 10 state departments of transportation have “hired hundreds of staff, including highly skilled personnel and pilots to manage drone operations.”
The year the report was released, 36 state DOTs had funded centers or programs for drone operations — 10 states reported partnering with colleges to train drone pilots. At the time, 29 DOTs reported that using drones helped save money on construction projects. Observers say drones are also more efficient and safer than traditional surveying methods.
“As recently as last year, 45 state DOTs had some kind of construction activity using drones,” says King W. Gee, M.ASCE, the director of safety and mobility for AASHTO. “At this point, I’d be surprised if there was a state that still had not yet gone into drone use of some kind.” In addition to surveying and bridge inspection, those activities include incident response, disaster management, and asset management such as monitoring and managing slope stabilization.
For the complete article on the North Split Interchange CLICK HERE.
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