Rockford Public Works adds what look like a high tech toy to it's equipment list. They now have a drone. They are already putting it to use to keep an eye on the city's roads and rivers.
This is the latest purchase by the City of Rockford's Public Works Department. The idea came after they saw a construction company using it on a major city project.
"They used drones on the Morgan Street Bridge for the construction. And it was very useful to them to make their jobs a lot easier for taking aerial views," says Tim Hanson, Public Works director.
City engineers knew they could use it for their own construction projects plus they are required by the state to monitor the area's storm drainage systems along with rivers and streams.
"We have 115 miles of creeks throughout the City of Rockford and a lot of them are in wooded areas and a lot of them you can't get to. In this case here this will allow us to get into those areas and where we had a tough time and had to walk though in waders," says Hanson.
Besides just for regular maintenance the public works department says it would use a drone, like this for emergencies like a flood. Hanson says in the past they have had to rely on getting a helicopter or plane to look over any damage. Not only is that costly but also can take time.
The drone is able to send back video to an iPad. So while one engineer flies it another can look for problems. The city says they have already sent it out to potential flood areas like the Alpine Dam and Keith Creek.
"It will help us do our job a lot more efficiently to let us bring a drone in and take a look at the situation," says Hansen.
The drone cost about $1,000. Public Works purchased it with its equipment money.