Highway Engineering is a branch of transportation engineering which deals with the design, construction and maintenance of different types of roads.

Purposes, Objectives of Highway Plans : 

1) To find the earth work evolved.

2) To prepare estimates of the road project.

Importance of Highway Engineering :

  1. They provide conveyance to the people, goods, raw materials, etc., to reach different parts of the country.
  2. They are the only source of communication in hilly regions.
  3. Helps in dairy development.
  4. Helps in tourism development.
  5. Helps in fisheries development.
  6. Helps in maintaining law and orders in a country.
  7. They improve the medical facilities.

Characteristics Highway Engineering :

  1. It can be used by all types of vehicles including cycles, rickshaws, automobiles, passenger cars, buses, trucks, etc.
  2. It is nearest mode of transport for people or public.
  3. It offers flexibility of changes in direction of travel as per need, comfort and convenience.
  4. It saves time of travel especially for short distances and light traffic because the road vehicles can be taken upto or very near to the point of destination.
  5. It requires small investments and maintenance costs as compared to railways, airports, docks and harbours.
  6. Road transport save time particularly for short distance travel.

Classification of  Highway

Different Road categories according to this classification are discussed below :

National Highways (NH) :

The main highways running through the length and breadth of India, joining major parts, capital of states, large industrial and tourist centers, foreign highways including roads required for strategic movements for the defence of India etc. are known as National Highways (NHs).

All the national highways are assigned with the respective numbers.

For example:

  • Amritsar- Ambala- Delhi Road- NH1
  • Delhi- Agra- Kanpur- Culcutta Road – NH2
  • Agra- Mumbai Road- NH3
  • Modural and Rameswaram- NH49

The responsibility of construction and maintenance of these roads lies with the central government. Central Government holds the responsibility of construction and maintenance of these roads.

State Highways (SH) :

The highways linking up with the national highways of adjacent states, district headquarters and important cities with the states are known as State Highways (SHs). The geometric design specifications and design speed for NH and SH are same. These highways serve as arterial routes of traffic from district road within the state. The responsibility of construction and maintenance of these roads lies with state government. However, the central government gives grant for development.

Major District Roads (MDR) :

The important roads within a district serving areas of production and markets and connecting these places with each other or with the main highways are known as Major District Roads (MDRs). The responsibility of construction and maintenance of these roads lies with District Authorities. However, the state government gives grant for development of these roads.

Other District Roads (ODR) :

The roads serving rural areas of production and providing them with outlet to market centers, tahsil headquarters, block development headquarters, railway stations etc. are known as Other District Roads (ODRs). This have lower design specification than MDR.

Village Roads (VR) :

The roads connecting villages or group of villages with each other or with the nearest road of higher category are known as village roads. These roads are very important from the rural area development point of view. They are generally un-metalled with single lane width of stabilized soil or gravel. The responsibility of construction and maintenance of these roads lies with the local district authorities.

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