UAV Technology Enhances Canal Route Bridge Repair in Wichita, Kansas

The Canal Route Bridge Repair project on I-135 in Wichita, Kansas, was vital to motorists in Wichita and south-central Kansas. The bridge, constructed in 1979, carries an average of 92,500 vehicles a day, directs traffic through the core of Wichita (the state’s largest city) and links with three other major freeway and highway routes.

GBA led an asset management inspection of the Canal Route bridges to evaluate bearings, hinge concrete, deck and joints of bridges. This project plan involved the delivery of inspection data in a geospatial database with all photos, quantities and notes georeferenced to allow for easy interpretation by the design team and KDOT.

GBA’s client required data that located bridge deck delamination and mapped areas of damage. Traditional methods of this type of information collection would lead to a shutdown of roads, which would translate into large expenses for clients.

GBA’s in-house Advanced Robotics and Remote Sensing (ARRS) Group partnered with our Bridge Inspection Group to overcome challenges faced by traditional modes of data collection. Our team deployed a state-of-the-art unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that uses high-resolution Infrared (IR) scanning technology. When processed, this field data yields accurate micro-station plans, which serves as an asset management tool for clients to track areas of damage.

After GBA’s UAV processed positive delamination areas, the Bridge Group performed another validation. This team spot-checked the thermal data’s predetermined delamination areas by using the chain-drag method, which determines positive areas by creating differing acoustics on the deck’s surface. The findings from this method overlaid IR findings to provide clients with the most accurate data.



ACEC Kansas, Excellence in Engineering Award, 2019
ACEC National, Excellence in Engineering Award, 2019
AUVSI, Commercial/Enterprise Operation Award, 2019

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