MDOT tests new technology that promises faster, more accurate bridge deck inspections

A new system tested in southwest Michigan promises to improve bridge deck inspections by providing greater detail and safety for workers – at near-highway speeds.

Michigan Department of Transportation and the Michigan Tech Research Institute are using a 3-D optical bridge evaluation system, known as 3DOBS.

“It is a high-quality camera that we attach to the trailer hitch of any vehicle and we drive it across bridges,” said Rick Dobson, the research scientist at the institute who is leading the project.

Dobson said the camera collects high-quality imagery at a high frame rate.

“From that, we can create 2-D mosaic images and from that we can extract condition information about the bridge deck,” Dobson said.