Aerial Infrared Scanning of Bridge Decks for Detecting and Mapping Delaminations

Monday, August 21, 2023 - 15:15

The objective of this project was to demonstrate and evaluate a highly efficient and economical method for evaluation of the condition of bridge decks in Alaska. The method, Aerial Infrared Thermography (Aerial IR), implements traditional infrared thermography from a fixed-wing aircraft using high resolution infrared and visual cameras. To address the objective, the condition of 69 Alaska DOT & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) bridge decks along Parks Highway was evaluated with Aerial IR. Twelve decks from the 69 were identified for an independent ground truth evaluation using traditional chain drag sounding. The results of this project include delamination quantities and supporting plan view infrared and visual imagery for each surveyed bridge deck. The ground truth evaluation showed that the Aerial IR and chain drag quantities to be within 2% of the deck area on average, and that the mapped locations were similar. An economic analysis shows the return on investment (ROI) of Aerial IR to be estimated at 223% if implemented on a routine basis as well as an estimated annual reduction of 125 hours of inspection personnel to traffic. The full report is available from the Alaska Department of Transportation web site at


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