Why helicopters are hovering around Harrisburg


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A number of viewers called ABC27 News to ask about helicopters hovering over the Harrisburg area, and now we can tell you what’s going on.

The helicopters over the area this week are doing survey work for PennDOT, according to spokesman Greg Penny.

The crews are collecting data for two major projects: the Eisenhower Interchange and Interstate 83 between the interchange and the John Harris Memorial Bridge, also known as the South Bridge. Right now, those projects are in preliminary engineering.

Penny said the surveyors are also looking at ramps, intersections, and some nearby travel corridors, and they’re also doing vehicle, pedestrian, and bicycle counts.

The two helicopters, from a company called Skycomp in Columbia, Maryland, are equipped with cameras and use time-lapse aerial photography to develop traffic counts.

PennDOT previously used helicopters to collect traffic data before the South Bridge went from three to four lanes. Penny said by using helicopters, PennDOT’s not out along the road or using tubes across the pavement to collect traffic data.

The helicopters will be out Thursday and again on Saturday to collect weekend data.

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