What’s Under Your Wheels: Understanding Road Design

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Roads are one of the most significant engineering feats that have benefitted humanity. Without it, trade and eventual globalization would not have happened — just take a look at how the Silk Road changed the world.

While driving or going on road trips, there might have been an occasion when you have wondered how these pathways are designed and made. You may not realize it, but a lot of work goes into building roads. They are not just about laying down the asphalt and applying some road paint. Engineers have a lot of considerations to take into account to ensure that the road will be optimized.

In case you are looking for something that will help you understand how roads are designed, you are reading the right article. Check out the following:

Planning the Alignment

Roads do not always go like straight lines. Depending on the location and its topography, there will be some curved parts, and curves are not just designed in haste. They have to be done for the motorists’ safety. That is why the principles of horizontal alignment are needed here. Horizontal arrangements are straight segments of roads, which are linked by suitable curves. This part of the design will rely on particular factors. Some examples are the possible number of cars passing on the street, the size of the vehicles, and of course, the stability and suitability of land.

Conducting Traffic Studies

The volume of traffic will determine the health and the future of the road. That is why certain studies have to be conducted. In traffic studies, engineers and designers will determine how many lanes will be needed in each direction. They will also need to figure out whether the road will have stop signs and traffic signals to regulate movements, especially at intersections and turns. Furthermore, the building team will need to estimate how many passenger cars and big trucks will use the new road.

Identifying the Location of Utilities

Roads will need to be close to utilities, so engineers will need to determine which areas are the closest. Otherwise, they may need to build new facilities. Through this, they will also be able to figure out where the storm drainage will go. They will know where to source water, gas, and electricity.

Understanding Potential Impacts

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Roads have a lot of impact on the communities that are close to them. That is why engineers and designers will need to have an environmental evaluation to determine the possible effects on wetlands, species of plants and animals, archaeological sites, and culturally significant locations. If the road building proceeds, engineers will need to find a way to minimize the impact.

While roads are among the most significant inventions of humankind, many are not aware of how they are designed and made. Understanding these things is essential, as they will help you appreciate the fact that reaching your destinations is made possible by these engineering marvels. It will also give you the chance to recognize the efforts of engineers and all the people responsible behind the roads’ construction.

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