Transforming 21st Street in Topeka, Kansas with Innovative UAV Technology
When the city of Topeka was faced with the challenge of quickly repairing a 400-foot stretch of deteriorated concrete on a major road, GBA answered the call. After wear and tear from winter weather, a rapid rehabilitation of 21st Street’s concrete pavement, raised median and curb and gutter were needed.
The road carries 27,000 vehicles a day, is surrounded by businesses and connects to I-470. Efficiency on the 21st Street rehabilitation project was not only important for the daily commuters and businesses, but also for a previously scheduled Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) project on the adjacent interstate and ramps.
GBA’s Transportation, Robotics and GIS groups partnered together with a focus on creating a quick and durable solution. To do this, GBA bypassed traditional survey methods that would have added to the overall project time and instead opted for using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). This emerging technology allowed GBA to collect detailed aerial imagery in a fraction of the time. Images were processed using orthorectification, which allowed all data to be used to scale. The high-resolution imagery was added to a GIS-based web application that allowed for real-time coordination with the client. GBA was able to design and draw the roadway repairs in GIS and collaboratively acquire input and approval from the client.
The resulting GIS database was imported into ArcGIS Pro, from which GBA created plans for the new road surface. Within four weeks of acquiring the imagery and three days of an agreed-upon solution, the plans were approved for to take the 21st Street rehabilitation to construction.