An Evaluation of Planning, Designing, Constructing, and Maintaining: The Process of Building Highways

Last Updated: 21 Apr 2023
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Nowadays, highways are essential as a way of transportation. The system allows efficient transportation for all sort of vehicles. Though the idea of highways seem fairly simple, what goes into the engineering process requires much consideration and skill. What is involved in the process of building highways include planning, designing, constructing, and maintaining.

To begin with, the first step is developing a plan. The engineers are required to estimate the current traffic, which is used to know what situation they're working with. The engineers also have to predict and analyze the possible civil impacts of the highway systems. This is to ensure that the highway will not cause concerns to the citizens and communities in the area. Another factor is the financing and pricing, which is constantly changing. The pricing varies from time to time because the higher demand for safety results in the higher prices for workers and materials. Not only that, but the highway system is becoming popular in developing countries that call for a higher maintenance cost.

Additionally, when planning and developing highways, engineers have to guarantee that all aspects of the project meets certain standards. This is important because any mistake and defect on the highway can disrupt the whole area and not only the highway. The mistakes can lead to water and air pollution, damage to habitats, and noise or vibration. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, engineers have to use the Environmental Impact Assessment, or EIA, to deal with possible situations that can impact the project. Other than that, highway safety is another crucial factor to regard because death rates are slowly increasing. To control this problem and minimizing the rates, engineers have used technological advancements to secure a safer highway system.

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Furthermore, the next step to the process of building highways is designing. The key parts of the design process that engineers have to consider is the location, alignment, and shape. To clarify, the location indicates where the highway should be built to have maximum efficiency and full convenience. The alignment and shape is to ensure the stability of the vehicles. This includes understanding the reaction time of drivers and their visual acuity and also the vehicle size. These are considered because that will allow the engineers to know exactly how many lane there will be, how wide they will be, the alignment and elevation, and the horizontal and vertical clearance. After these details are considered, the designs must meet safety, service, and performance standards.

Likewise, the type of materials and pavement designs must be defined. The materials involved include the two major types of pavement, portland cement concrete (PCC) or hot- mix asphalt (HMA). The other materials also include regular cement and asphalt. On the other hand the engineers must know which one out of the four pavement designs to use. The pavement design can either be a flexible, rigid, flexible with an overlay design, rigid with an overlay design. Once this is sorted out, the last thing to design is the drainage system. The drainage system is a critical part of the process because it will prevent many defects that can happen. What the system does is controls erosion during and after construction. Typically, the system consists of a slope that leads water to drains and away from the highway.

After planning and designing the highway, construction begins. The construction incorporates the technical elements and the commercial elements. To clarify, the technical elements are the materials, the installation techniques, and the traffic, whereas the commercial elements are the contracts, legal aspects, and the public concerns. With this in mind, work starts at the base course, which is four to six inches of cement, ash, or lime. When this is finished, the construction for the subbase course starts. This layer consists of four to sixteen inches of crushed stone or gravel mixed in with cement, ash, or lime. The final layer is called the surface layer, which is made from hot-mix asphalt or portland cement that has been smoothened out.

Finally, the highway has to have maintenance. The purpose of highway maintenance is to fix defects and to preserve structure and serviceability. This includes defining, understanding, and recording all defects to select the appropriate maintenance plan to use. Without maintenance, the time and labor spent on this project would go to waste.

All in all, highways are becoming essential to transportation. Without highways, efficient travel and transport would not be convenient. Therefore, engineers created the highway system as a solution, which involves planning, designing, constructing, and maintaining.

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An Evaluation of Planning, Designing, Constructing, and Maintaining: The Process of Building Highways. (2023, Apr 21). Retrieved from

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