The Constructor

Classification of Roads and their Details [PDF]

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Road transportation is an essential network for any country. This article discusses the classification of roads based on many factors, such as materials, locations, and traffic.

Classification or Types of Roads

The roads are classified based on many factors as follows.

Based on Materials

  1. Earthen roads
  2. Gravel roads
  3. Murrum roads
  4. Kankar roads
  5. WBM roads
  6. Bituminous roads
  7. Concrete roads

1. Earthen Roads

Earthen roads are laid with soil. They are cheaper than all types of roads. This type of road is provided for fewer traffic areas or countryside areas. A good drainage system should be provided, which reflects excellent performance for a more extended period.

Fig. 1: Earthen Road

2. Gravel Roads

Gravel roads are also low-quality roads, but they are better when compared with earthen roads. A compacted mixture of gravel and earth is used as pavement material in this case.

Fig. 2: Gravel Road

3. Murrum Roads

Murrum is a matter obtained from the disintegration of igneous rocks by weathering agencies. This is used to make roads called murrum roads.

Fig. 3: Murrum Roads

4. Kankar Roads

Kankar is an impure form of limestone. Kankar roads are provided where lime is available in a reasonable quantity. The Kankar roads are low quality and performance.

Fig. 4: Kankar Roads

5. WBM Roads

Water Bound Macadam (WBM) roads contain crushed stone aggregate in its base course. The aggregates are spread on the surface and rolled after sprinkling water. WBM roads provide better performance compared to earthen, gravel, murrum, and kankar roads.

WBM roads are laid as layers of about 10cm thickness of each layer. They are very rough and may disintegrate immediately under traffic.

Fig. 5: WBM Roads

6. Bituminous Roads

Bituminous roads are prevalent roads around the world. They are the most used roads in the world. This road types are low in cost and suitable for driving conditions. The thickness of bituminous roads depends upon the subgrade soil conditions.

Fig. 6: Bituminous Roads

7. Concrete Roads

Cement concrete is used to construct the pavements in case of concrete roads. These are very popular and costlier than all other types of roads. They are not flexible, so they require less maintenance.

Concrete roads are suitable for high traffic areas. They are laid with joints and time of construction is more.

Fig. 7: Concrete Roads

Based on Location and Function

  1. National highways
  2. State highways
  3. District roads
  4. Rural roads or village roads

1. National Highways

National highways are the main roads that connect all major cities to the capital of the country. They run throughout the length and breadth of the country. A minimum two-lane road is provided for national highways.

Fig. 8: National Highways

2. State Highways

State highways are the second main roads that connect significant parts of the state within it. State highway ultimately connects to the national highways.

Fig. 9: State Highways

3. District Roads

District roads are provided within the cities and connect markets and production places to state and national highways. Two types of district roads are there namely,

Major district roads connect headquarters of the neighboring district with main parts of the area while minor district roads are laid within the region.

Fig. 10: District Roads

4. Rural Roads or Village Roads

Village roads connect the nearby villages. They lead to a nearby town or district roads. Usually, low-quality roads are provided as village roads because of low traffic.

Fig. 11: Rural Roads or Village Roads

Based on Traffic Volume

  1. Light traffic roads
  2. Medium traffic roads
  3. High traffic roads

1. Light Traffic Roads

The roads which are carrying 400 vehicles daily on an average is called light traffic reoads.

2. Medium Traffic Roads

If a road is carrying 400 to 1000 vehicles per day, then it is said to be a medium traffic road.

3. High Traffic Roads

If a road is carrying is more than 1000 vehicles per day then it is considered as high traffic road.

Based on Economy

  1. Low-cost roads
  2. Medium cost roads
  3. High-cost roads

The economy depends upon the location and function of roads and also on the traffic analysis.

Based on Traffic Type

  1. Pedestrian ways
  2. Cycle tracks
  3. Motorways

1. Pedestrian Ways

Pedestrian ways are exclusively built for pedestrians, and no vehicles are permitted in this way.

2. Cycle Tracks

Cycle tracks or bicycle tracks are provided on both sides of the pavement for cyclists; hence they can travel safely.

3. Motorways

Motorways are also known as expressways. Only a few vehicles are accessible to use this type of road. The cars which can move with high-speed acceleration are permitted in this way. Motorways makes travel quick and provides comfort for high-speed vehicles.

Based on Rigidity

  1. Flexible roads
  2. Rigid roads

1. Flexible Roads

Flexible roads consist of a flexible layer as a pavement surface, which requires proper maintenance; otherwise, it can be disintegrated easily with heavy traffic. All types of roads except concrete roads fall under this category.

2. Rigid Roads

Rigid pavements are non-flexible and cement concrete roads are fall under this category.

Based on Topography

  1. Plain area road
  2. Hilly area roads

1. Plain Area Road

The roads constructed on leveled surface is known as plain area roads.

2. Hilly Area Roads

Roads constructed in hilly regions are called as hill area roads or ghat roads. Generally these are provided around the hill in a spiral shape.

Fig. 11: Hilly Area Roads

FAQs on the types of roads and their details

?What are the types of roads based on construction materials?

1. Earthen roads
2. Gravel roads
3. Murrum roads
4. Kankar roads
5. WBM roads
6. Bituminous roads
7. Concrete roads

?What is a road?

A road is a way or route on land between two places that are paved or improved to permit travel by transportation means such as cars, motor vehicles, and horses.

?How many layers are in in flexible pavement and rigid pavement?

Flexible pavement consists of four layers, namely, surface course, base course, subbase course, and subgrade course.
However, rigid pavement consists of three layers; surface course, base course, and subgrade course.

?What is the best material for road construction?

Asphalt is by far the best materials for the construction of roads. It is easy to handle compared with concrete. Essential constituent materials are aggregated, such as sand, gravel, stone, and petroleum byproducts.

?What is a concrete road?

Concrete road is constructed from cement concrete, and very popular and costlier than all other types of roads. The concrete road needs less maintenance. It is suitable for high traffic areas.

Read More:

Types of Concrete Pavements -Their Construction Details and Applications

Why is Bitumen Used in Road Construction? Properties and Advantage of Bitumen for Pavements

Types of Pavement – Flexible Pavements and Rigid Pavements

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