By ROBERT ANKRAPP
For the Times-Herald
HEIGHTS – The city and civil engineering contractor Wade Trim recently completed an aerial drone survey of Ecorse Creek between Inkster Road and the Southfield Freeway.
The survey was designed to capture a profile and take crucial measurements of the creek and the surrounding shorelines. The information will help identify specific problem areas in order to help correct issues that contribute to the restriction of water flow — such as restricted or plugged storm outlets — as well as help identify significant blockages — downed trees, logs, brush, debris and downed trees — that also restrict water flow.
The survey, which was executed by an engineer and certified drone pilot from Wade Trim, consists of a series of still photos “stitched” together — as opposed to traditional video footage — which allows a more accurate, efficient and comprehensive analysis.
It collected not only creek channel data but also covered surrounding areas up to 125 feet from creek’s centerline in each direction. Data collection will include real-time kinematic, geo-rectified imagery to produce photogrammetric reconstruction of the hard surfaces of the entire run of the creek in the city. This is a detailed engineering quality survey which can later be utilized to show precise areas of concern to target efforts where they can produce the most benefit.
The drone technique, now a widely-preferred technique for these types of needs, provides a precise aerial survey containing geo-located measurements and land contours, where in the past, a team of several engineering staff would be required to walk the entire creek with bulky equipment.
The fly-over was completed in one day, as opposed to requiring a minimum of several days — and several staff — by utilizing an older method. The survey cost approximately $13,000 to complete.
“This is one of the first concrete steps toward providing ‘boots on the ground’ solution to this on-going problem” Mayor Bill Bazzi said. “In spite of the many studies and meetings that have taken place in the past, I’m glad to say we are at the point where we can see definitive steps toward actually addressing the problem.
This survey will give us a detailed look at exactly where the ‘bottlenecks’ exist, so we can go after these problem areas efficiently. We are working on additional plans to help reduce the threat of flooding as well, but this first step is the one we really need to get started on the actual work.”
As an aeronautical engineer by education and profession, Bazzi was impressed.
“The technology behind this equipment and its implementation is impressive,” he said. “It is providing us with a far more accurate assessment of the condition of the creek – and the specifics regarding the problem areas we need to focus on – in a way that is far less labor-intensive than the older, traditional methods, and far less costly.
“This was a great step forward. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but finally, we are getting down to the actual work.”