Wisconsin Department of Transportation
Press Release

Quality culverts mean safer highways, WisDOT engineers modernize inspection program

Today, WisDOT employees are using technology to double productivity and enhance highway safety.

By - Oct 17th, 2019 05:09 pm

Culvert inspectors used to journey into the field with a flashlight and a notebook to examine the pipes located beneath Wisconsin’s state highways. Today, WisDOT employees are using technology to double productivity and enhance highway safety.

Through WisDOT’s Culvert Asset Management Program (CAMP) the notepad is set aside for an iPad, which ties to a real-time database program developed by WisDOT engineers. With CAMP, potential problems are now flagged more quickly and consistently than ever before.

“WisDOT staff work hard to find new and inventive ways to create efficiencies that better serve the public,” WisDOT Secretary-Designee Craig Thompson said. “Innovation is helping us gain a better understanding of culvert conditions throughout the state. This commitment to innovation helps us make timely, cost-effective decisions on maintenance and improvements.”

There are more than 62,000 culverts in the Wisconsin state highway system. Motorists drive over them every day, which makes culvert inspection – trying to spot issues in dark tubes beneath the surface – vitally important to public safety.

A WisDOT engineer led the development of CAMP as part of WisDOT’s nationally recognized innovation program. CAMP leverages mobile and Geographic Information System (GIS) technologies to streamline workload and create uniform condition reporting direct from the field. This replaces a traditional method of hand-written notes that would be logged later at the office, creating lag time and style inconsistencies among inspectors.

CAMP is a statewide program. Engineers in WisDOT’s Green Bay office are currently working to enhance the reach of culvert inspections and capture more images that would further enrich CAMP’s data stream. They are field-testing remote-controlled, camera-equipped vehicles to capture data on sections of culvert that are either unsafe or physically challenging to access. The remote-controlled vehicle extends an inspector’s ability to see potential issues or deterioration that should be logged for maintenance, improvements or possible replacement.

Culverts are critical to manage storm water and to help keep roadways dry and passable. WisDOT typically inspects more than 12,000 culverts every year.

“These initiatives are great examples of dedicated state employees living the WisDOT mission to provide leadership in the development and operation of a safe and efficient transportation system,” Thompson said.

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