Roads and Highways – Types of Highway Planning Surveys

highway planning surveys

Roads and Highways

Roads and Highways play a vital role in development of a country and human society. But for every successful project planning is necessary. From a small road to big structure and highway planning surveys is the first and foremost thing need to be done. Planning becomes more important when sources of funds and materials are limited in quantity.

These types of problems especially occur in developing countries.  Thus, for developing a highway or a structure, planning along with the consultations from experts are basic requirements.

Objectives of Highway Planning

  • A highway should be plan according to the volume of daily traffic flow from a particular path. For this purpose proper survey must be done to collect the adequate amount of data.
  • The highways develop must be efficient, but at a minimum cost, especially in cases of developing and underdeveloped countries.
  • The highways should be safe and secure.
  • The planning must have a forecast for next several years in order plan fix periods for maintenance, renewal and widening as well.

Different Types of Highway Planning Surveys

Map study

In the beginning, various data in the forms of maps, aerial photographs, charts or graphs, etc. are collected. Topographical maps are done by the survey of India are available with 15 m to 30 m contour interval.

Maps show the various topographical features like river, hills, and valleys. With the proper map study at the office, it is possible to obtain the basic details to fix the alignment of roads.

Possible alignment can be fixed based on the following details available on the map :

  •  Any Alignment passing through valleys, lakes, and ponds.
  •  Location of bridges for crossing rivers.
  • Availability of a mountain passing a mountain range.
  • Joining of two stations at different elevation by taking a suitable ruling gradient.
  • Determination of length of the roadway using contour interval and ruling gradient.

Reconnaissance survey

Reconnaissance survey definition – The reconnaissance survey is an extensive study of an entire area that might be used for a road or airfield. the purpose of reconnaissance survey is to eliminate those routes or sites which are impractical or unfeasible and to identify the more promising routes or sites. Existing maps and aerial photographs may be of great help.

In reconnaissance survey, simple survey instruments like a prismatic compass, Abney level, tangent clinometer, barometer, etc. may be used to collect additional details rapidly.

Objectives of Reconnaissance Survey

  • This types of survey helps to collect the details of obstruction along the route which are not available in the map. For example, Valleys, ponds, lakes, marshy land, ridge, hills, permanent structure, etc.
  • To collect geological features of the field. For example, Soil type along the route from the field identification tests and the observation required for foundation work of bridges and construction of road pavements.
  • To collect information regarding the availability of local construction material, water, and labor.
  • To determine the approximate values of a gradient, length of gradients and radius of curves of alternate alignments.
  • To locate the obligatory points along the alternative routes.
  • To determine an approximate estimate of the total cost of construction of the road along each route.
  • To determine two or three best possible routes.

Preliminary survey

Preliminary survey definition – Preliminary survey is a type of survey in which adequate data is collected to prepare plan/map of the area to be used for planning and design.

In a preliminary survey, the survey instruments to be used are chain type, prismatic compass, leveling instrument, plane table theodolite.

Objectives of Preliminary Survey

  • To survey along the various alignments found after the reconnaissance and to collect all necessary physical information and details of topography, drainage, and soil.
  • To compare the different proposals in view of the requirements of good road alignment.
  • To estimate the cost of constructing the road including bridges and other construction aspects along each alternative alignment of the road.
  • To finalize the best alignment from construction, maintenance, and traffic operation point of view.

Location Survey

Location survey definition – The detailed examination of the field along the alignment finally recommended during the preliminary survey is called Location survey.

In this survey instruments used are theodolite, level, plane table, tape, etc.

Objectives of Location Survey

  • The alignment finalized at the design office after the preliminary survey is to be first located on the field by establishing the centerline.
  • The detailed survey should be carried out for collecting the information necessary for the preparation of plans and construction details for the highway project.
  • To determine the cost of the total road project.

Engineering Survey for Highway location

When the selection of final alignment or final centerline is done with the help of a highway planning surveys, the next part is to perform an engineering survey for highway location.

Engineering surveys consists of three surveys to be carried out as follows.

Traffic surveys

In the case of a highway project, the detail information of traffic is much necessary so as to design the road pavement, fixing the number of traffic lanes, geometric design of roads and other economical aspects.

Traffic surveys are started from simple traffic counts to detail of traffic nature and transportation studies. Various studies like speed studies, traffic volume studies, delays, journey time are more essential to carry out for the purpose of road design and also improvement of existing road network.

Soil and material surveys

Soil and material surveys are many important surveys since the earth work related with respect to the major portion of the road cost.

Detailed information on various classifications of soils is collected and various field tests and laboratory test are being carried out for the purpose of their suitability for embankments.

Hence soil investigation is more important in case of soil survey.

Materials such as road aggregates, bitumen, tar cement concrete, and any other required for the construction of the road. Hence material survey is also carried out in which its suitability, durability, availability has prime importance and varies laboratory test on-road materials are also being carried out.

Drainage surveys

Drainage surveys are required mainly for the purpose of design of cross drainage structure and survey on drainage is quite useful in fixing the gradient or grade lien of the road.

Information about high flood level (HFL), depth of water table, rainfall intensity, etc is being collected.

Proper drainage surveys are helpful in the good design of the surface drainage system.

Topographic surveys

Topographic surveys is type of highway planning surveys which consist of determining the horizontal and vertical locations of objects on the surface of the earth.

Topographic surveys show the nature of the ground or profile of ground which is the most essential part for proper road alignment.

ALso Read – Top 10 Longest National Highway in India   

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