Every day, drones are used to make people’s lives easier. They have a number of applications across dozens of industries, and are used to make tasks more time efficient, financially efficient, and in some cases, to save lives. Drone’s have the capability to change how we work for the better. To put it simply - drones are tools, not toys.
The Ribblehead Viaduct, an iconic 400-meter-long bridge located in North Yorkshire, England is undergoing a $2.8 million restoration project with the help of LiDAR sensors and drones.
Network Rail contracted the job of scanning and repairing the 144 year old viaduct to Commendium, a UK based construction company that specializes in 3D scanning and LiDAR. Representatives from Commendium have shared that this is the largest structure that the company has ever been tasked to scan:
“We’re always looking to innovate on the railway, and seeing drones and lasers being used to care for such a historic structure is really impressive,” said Phil James, the Northwest route director for Network Rail. “Great care and attention are going in to make sure our work is right from a heritage perspective. This digital model plays a major role in that as we secure the Grade II listed structures future for passengers and tourists as part of the Great North Rail Project.”
Over 100 scans were conducted from various locations and angles to create the almost perfect model of the viaduct. The 3D model will assist Commendium’s restoration efforts in 2021, which will include brickwork repairs, drainage upgrade and repairing damage caused by invasive plants and weeds.
According to Commendium’s CEO Richard Walters, this 3D model will allow them to be proactive in maintaining the viaduct in the future as well:
“The resulting LiDAR scan not only shows areas which need repair but also areas where water could damage the stonework in the future, so leading to other preservation works.”