Pitt uses drone to create 3D model of new Fern Hollow Bridge construction

Mr. Fascetti, an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, is part of a team preparing a digital model and history of the construction of the new Fern Hollow Bridge. The project involves piloting a hexacopter drone for 11½ minutes every two weeks to record photo and laser images of the progress of construction, about 170 million pieces of information each week.

The project received a $141,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to create the digital model, believed to be the first of its kind in the country. Mr. Fascetti’s team is following the emergency replacement of the bridge after the previous structure collapsed in January.

The project is part of the work of the Impactful Resilient Infrastructure Science and Engineering consortium, where the university works with private contractors and government transportation officials to develop new construction practices and solve problems.