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Ohio Turnpike to use drones to inspect bridges, could also be used to investigate accidents

Posted at 3:07 PM, Aug 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-17 18:17:56-04

Recreational drones are mostly used for aerial photography, but instead of just taking cool pictures, what if they could keep bridge inspectors safe?

The Ohio Turnpike Commission plans to use drones to inspect Turnpike bridges starting next month.

A drone, also called an Unmanned Aerial System, could help inspectors analyze the condition of the bridge in question more quickly, and the drone can do it without forcing crews to close down the highway.

The Turnpike Commission believes this will keep workers safe, because they wouldn’t have to use bucket trucks to see over the side of a bridge.

If the pilot program goes well, Turnpike officials said ODOT could do the same thing with other bridges like the 480 bridge.

The drone usage doesn't stop there.

The State Highway Patrol could also fly drones over pile ups, because drones could avoid the traffic backup and get to the crash scene more quickly than emergency vehicles... allowing first responders to quickly assess the situation

The Erie County Sheriff’s Department is already using drones to investigate crashes like Sunday’s pile up .. and it allows roads to open quicker.

The same would go for haz-mat situations, where a drone could also be equipped to take readings of how serious the spill is, while not putting workers at risk.

The first inspection with drones will be of the Sandusky Bridge September 13 and 14.