• 3D Visualizations Help Public Consider Alternative

    NCDOT conducted a study to replace an S-shaped swing-span bridge over the Perquimans River in Hertford, NC. The existing bridge is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), and terminates in a NRHP historic district. Alternatives were considered that replaced the bridge with a similar-type facility, a higher fixed bridge on a similar alignment, and an alternative that avoided the historic district. A majority of the community was initially concerned about a higher bridge. Through the use of 3D photo renderings from multiple angles, the community was able to visualize the alternative which notably increased support for that alternative (which was eventually selected as the preferred alternative). To obtain appropriate high-resolution photographs, we contracted Sky Site to take photos from a low-flying helicopter and using an elevated camera from ground level.

 Lessons Learned using Primary Technique:

  • 3D Visualization


Initially, we used plan views of the designs on aerial mapping to display alternatives to the public. There was notable concern and skepticism about some of the alternatives. Once we displayed the 3D renderings, we eliminated most of that concern.​


We did static photo renderings, which were very effective. If we would have built a model, it would have allowed us to show the alternatives from multiple angles (including from residents' homes), which would have addressed additional questions.​


In retrospect, I would have recommended doing the 3D renderings earlier in the process, to display to the public the first time we provided plans of alternatives. ​

 Project Attributes

Project Primary Purpose
Target Communities
Commercial/Retail, Established Neighborhood, Urban
Target Populations
Maintenance and Operations
Highway or Interchange

 Primary Technique

  • 3D Visualization

 Other Techniques used

  • 63;#Open Houses/Open Forum Hearings;#67;#Presentations

 Contact Info

Teresa Gresham
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