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Why are drones flying over I-10 in Acadiana? - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Why are drones flying over I-10 in Acadiana?

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Drone (Courtesy: Chustz Surveying, LLC) Drone (Courtesy: Chustz Surveying, LLC)

KATC received a number of calls and emails about drones flying over I-10. We found out why.

The Department of Transportation and Development is using the drones to survey the median for a cable barrier project that'll run along the inner lanes of the interstate from I-49 in Lafayette to Jeff Davis Parish.

DOTD spokeswoman Deidra Druilhet said, "It's basically a cost-effective safety solution. It helps to prevent those cars that veer into the median from going into oncoming traffic. It helps to absorb the impact of the traffic."

Surveyors are using drones to scan the area before construction begins next year.

DOTD surveyor Stan Ard said, "This is the first project statewide. From what we understand from the FAA, this is one the first projects done in the country, where we're flying drones over the interstate area. We're actually flying the drone over the median, not the travel lanes." 

Essentially, the drone shoots video of the designated area and shoots lasers down in order to make a virtual image of the terrain and landscape.

Ard explained, "It's a safer process. It's more economical as well. Now, we do give up a little bit of our accuracy. But for the scope of this project, this accuracy for this technology is perfect for it. This project, for example, we're saving the state hundreds of thousands of dollars by using this technology."

Surveyors say what would normally take a crew three to four days to complete, takes about 10 minutes with the drone technology.

Druilhet said, "Whether it's a safety project such as the cable barriers, a roundabout, an interchange or any project, we're always looking for innovative solutions to help us grasp as much information as we can to help us as we begin designing and further along constructing those projects."

The drones and survey pilots are serviced through Chustz Surveying, LLC. Drone video and imagery provided to KATC through Chustz Surveying, LLC.

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