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Drone technology to bring huge savings to Jones County

Soon Jones County will be using drones, to save thousands on upcoming construction projects. 

The Jones County Supervisors approved the county engineers to buy a drone system that they say will save both time and money when it comes to fixing the roads. They say this system has the potential to save the county thousands on just a single construction job. 

In the next five to ten years, Jones County will have to do a lot of road maintenance says Engineer Derek Snead, "A large portion of construction program is going to revolve around replacing our concrete roads."

Replacing those roads by overlaying new concrete but these upgrades don’t come cheap, county engineers have to map the roads to make sure they know how much concrete they need and that the new roads are level.

Snead says that’s where the drones come in, "In order to do an overlay we have a lot of man hours and man time in our survey crew to go out there and topo [topography] the roads, this will make that more efficient so we can do more roads." 

CEO and Founder of Whirrx Drone Surveying Company, Steve Meets explains how it works, "The system, what it does, it gets the accuracy needed for federal highways dollars, for projects." 

The Whirrx drone they’ll be using , while similar to the KWWL drone, has extra special censors that allow it to map the topography and surface of the road.

"When it gets up in the air and flying, we can do a roadway in a weeks time, where our current operations and crew, it could take them all summer to do a 5 mile job," said Zeets.

It costs the county a little more than $5,000 per mile on these projects, they estimate the drone will be less than half of that cost. 

"That’s what a drone provides, is that efficiency tool to continue doing the work that needs to be done, with less people," said Zeets.  

This will free up more money for more projects says Snead, "We can’t put out more concrete roads than we have money for".

What could take crews hundreds of hours to do, the drone will be able to do in just one. This is going to mean huge tax savings for the county. The Engineers expect to have that drone delivered by the fall and they said they are going to put it to work right away.

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