Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones are now being utilized to check structural integrity of the country’s longest and highest bridges – the San Juanico Bridge connecting Samar and Leyte and Agas-Agas Bridge in Southern Leyte both located in Eastern Visayas.
In an event held recently, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Project Team presented to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) the initial findings of the first few drone inspections conducted earlier in November.
DPWH-VIII Assistant Regional Director Eric Ayapana said the bridge inspection by drone technology is part of JICA Technical Cooperation Project on Improvement of Quality Management for Highway and Bridge Construction and Maintenance Phase III.
“We are grateful for the support being provided by the Japanese Government in our effort to incorporate technology in improving and preserving structural integrity of our public infrastructure. This methodology will hopefully make our inspections faster, cost-efficient and less risky to our personnel,” said ARD Ayapana.
ARD Ayapana explained that carrying out traditional inspections especially of long-span bridges normally take ages and is riskier for inspectors.
JICA Project Team Leader and Bridge Expert Hideo Nagao said the use of drones in inspections is likewise endorsed as they can be utilized more frequently and therefore produce more accurate data in just a short period of time.
JICA’s final assessment and evaluation for San Juanico and Agas-Agas Bridges is expected to be available by February 2019. Results of assessment can be immediately used to identify necessary and urgent bridge maintenance works.