Things to Consider in the Design and Construction of Access and Minor Roads

Blog | August 27th, 2018

A temporary access road is being installed on a worksite. There’s ground to grade, soil to compact, and gravel to lay. At the end of the project, a layer of soft tarmac and a line of generator-powered streetlights concludes the project. Elsewhere, however, a permanent roadway, an access line between a main highway and a large factory complex, is being constructed. Out here, this minor road requires more planning.

Access Road Planning: The Common Factors 

Temporary or there for the long haul, the same ground prepping sequence commences. Every electrical cable and pipe is marked out on the ground. A can of luminescent spray paint gets the job done, as expedited by an engineer. The underground assets manager is holding the topographical maps and ground survey charts while the lines are marked. Meanwhile, wooden pegs are tagging the access road’s path. From here, the temporary and permanent planning procedures diverge.

Dual Engineering Considerations 

That temporary road, perhaps making its way over to a construction site, receives ditches and shaped drainage channels. The road surface is also graded and compacted so that it can support heavy construction vehicles for the duration of the project. Traction issues are next here, with gravel and sand, plus a layer of asphalt helping the heavy plant equipment to navigate the broadened roads. Finally, the curves and twists towards a final destination are planned so that the larger vehicle chassis’ can easily make headway. As for the permanent roadway, a construct we’ve labelled a minor road, the drainage and construction principles are far more structured. Foundations are excavated, concrete drainage channels and catchments are installed, and multiple long-lasting roadway surfaces are laid. They include a concrete basin, a frost protection system, an asphalt or tarmac binder, and a top surface, which is also made of tar.

Stormwater Runoff Design 

Again, these factors impact permanent and temporary access roads. The wide ribbon, wide enough to handle a designated traffic stream, undulates over the land. It runs above river banks and floodplains, all the better to assure a flood-safe pathway. Extended lengths are avoided, so a switchback is added to the design. This feature ensures the stormwater leaves the road at regular intervals, not as one overpowering surge.

Civil engineers and consulting experts have a talent for working with the land. Imagine that talent being put to good use in this project. The drainage systems and catchments are sometimes natural, or they’re sometimes made from concrete and wide-diameter pipes. The road is wide, it blends into the landscape, both visually and as a smartly engineered construct. Finally, all of this effort is completed while causing minimal environmental impact.

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