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RECOMMENDATIONS ABOUT
THE ALIGNMENT SURVEY
AND

GEOMETRIC DESIGN
OF

HILL ROADS
(fins Rlsion)
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<<

IRC

52-1981

First published June, 1973


First Revision March, 1982
Reprinted Seplember, 1989

(Rights of Publication and of Translation are reserved)

Printed at SAGAR PRINTERS & PUBLISHERS, New Delhi-I 10003

<<

I1IC: 52-1981

CONTENTS
Page

1.
2
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.

12.
13.
14.
15.
16.

Introduction
Definitions
Scope
Classification ofHill Roads
Alignment Survey
BasIc Principles ofGeometric Design
Widths ofRoad Land, Roadway. Carriageway
and Shoulders
Camber/Croasfali
Design Speed
Sight Distance
Horizontal Alignment
VertIcal Alignment
Alignment Compatibility
HaIr-pin Bends
PassIng Places
Lateral and Vertical Clearances at Underpasscs

Appendices
Appendix I Guiding Principles of Route Selection
and Location Applicable to Hill Roads
Appendix 2 Points on which Data may be Collected
during Ground Reconnaissance

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I
2
2
3
3
11

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12
14
14
15
16
25
28
29
30
30

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33

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...

. ..

..

35

IRC :52- 198L

LIST OF TABLES
Table

Page

No.
1.
2.
3.
4.

5.
6.
7.
8,
9.
10.
1!.

Desirable Road Land Widths


Widths of Carriageway, Shoulder and Roadway
Design Speed
Design Values of Stopping and Intermediate
Sight Distance for Various Speeds
Criteria for Measuring Sight Distance
Minimum Radii of Horizontal Curves for
Various Classes of Hill Roads
Mininium Transition Length for Different
Speeds and Curve Radii
Widening of Pavement at Curves
Recommended Set-back Distances for Singlelane Carriageway
Reco mmended Gradients for Different
Terrain Conditions
Minimum Length of Vertical Curves

..

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12
13
15

..

16
16

...

18

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19
20
..

24
25

27

LIST OF FIGURES AND PLATES


Fig. No.
1. Elements of a Combined Circular and Transition Curve
2. Visibility at Horizontal Curves

Page

...

21
23

...

38

...

Plate No.

1.
2,
3.

<<

Length of Summit Curve for Stopping Sight


Distance
Length of Summit Curve for intermediate
Sight Distance
Length of Valley Curves

...

40
42

JRC 52-1981
MEMBERS OF THE SPECIFICATIONS AND S TANt3ARDtS COMMITTEE
I. un g. c:i obindai Sinah
(Con veno r)
2. R.P. Sikka
(Member-Secretary)

Director General (Road [es elopnrent) & AddI. Secy.


to the Govt. of India, Ministry ol Shipping &
liii flSp or
Chief Engineer (Roads), NI inistry of Shipping &
Transport

3. Qazi Mohd. Afzal

A dviser, P.W,D., Jammu & Kashmir

4. V.K. Arora

Chief Engineer (Roads), Ministry of Shipping &


transport

5. R.T, Atre

Secretary to the Govt. of Maharashtra (11), PW & H


Deptt.

6. H. Barua

Secretary to the Govt. of Assarn, PWD (B & R)

7. E.C. Chandrasekharan

Chief Engineer, Pamhan Bridge Project, Madras

8, M.K. Chatterjee

Adviser (Civil Engg.), West


Development Corpn. Ltd.

9. D.C. Chaturvedi

Managing Director (Retd ), 61 Gulistan Colony,


Lucknow
Chief Engineer (Reid.) Greater Kailash, New Delhi

10. J. Datc
11. Dr. .M.P. Dhit
12. Dr. R.K. Ghosh
23. Y.C. Gokhale
14. BR. Govind

15. A Y. Gupte
16. 1.C. Gupta

l3engal

Industrial

Deputy Director & head, Roads Division, Central


Road Research Institute
Deputy Director & Head Rigid and Semi Rigid
Pavements Division, Central Road Research Institute
H cad, Information & Operational Research Division,
Central Road Research institute
Director of Designs, Engineer-in-Chiefs Branch,
A.H.Q., Kashmir House, New Del hi
Chief Road Engineer, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. Bombay
Engineer-in-Chief, Haryana, P.W.D., B & R

17, S.A. Hoda

Project Mamtger-curn-Managing Director,


State Bridge Construction Corporation Ltd.

18. MB. Jayawant

Neelkanth, 20 Carter Road, Bandra, Bombay

19. DR. Kohli

Manager, Electronics Datts Processing, Bharat


Petroleum Corporation Ltd.
Manager (Asphalt), Indian Oil Corpn. Ltd., Bombay

20. S B. Kulkarni

Bihar

21. P.K. Lauria

General Manager, Rajasthan State Bridge Construction Corporation Ltd.

22. MC. Malhotra

Engineer-in-Chief & Secy. H.P. P.W.i).


Chairman~ci,im-Managing Director, Rajasthan State
Bridge Construction Corpn,

23. J.M. Malhotra


24. M.R. Malya

<<

3, Panorama, 30, Palli 1-lilt Road, Bombay

IRC :52-1981
25. iS. Marya

Reid. Director General (Road Development) and


Addl. Seey. to the Goit, of India, 5-125 Greater
,K.ailas h II, New Deltr i

1.1K. Modi

Joint Secretary and Special Secretary to the Govt. of


Gujarat, P.WD.

27. 0. Muthachen
2$. it. (len, T

Poonikavil
(Kerala)
Nanda

29, K.K. Nambiar


30. T.K. Natarajan
31.

AC. Padhi

32,

Satish Prasad

lIousc,

Somangalam,

Puna lur

P.O.

Master General of the Ordnance, Army Headquarters


Ramanalaya, II, First Crescent Park Road, Adyar,

Madras
Deputy Director & Head, Snil Mechanics Division,
Central Road Research Institute
Chairman, Orissa Public Service Commission
Al- i03, Safdarjang Enclave, New Delhi-I 10016

33. Mahahir Prasad

Chief Engineer (Retd.), A-422, Ramsagar Misra


Nagar, Lucknow

34. Prot, M.Ss. Rao

Professor in Transportation Management, Indian


Institute of Management, Bangalore

35. KC. Reddy

Managing Director, Mysore Power Corporation Ltd.


Bangalore

36,

Chief Project Administrator, Hooghiy River Bridge


Conrmission,ers, Calcutta

~.

K. Samtrddar

37. Dr. 0.5. Sahgal

Principal, Punjah Engg. College, Chandigarh

3$,

Chief Engineer (Reid.[, 12-A, Chitranjan Park, New


Delhi-I 10019

N, Sen

3* t~Ajitfri Siotira
4t1. S. N. Si rrlra
11. 24 .Sivigriiu
Sodiri
43, Dr. N.S. Srinivasari

.44
45.

Diroctor (thou
Engineering),
Inst i tu i ion
49., B, Sri Krishna Pun, Patna

Indian

Standards

Chief Engineer I Roads;, Ministry of Shipping &


Tran sport
Chief
Corpn

.,

1::,flpineer Poujab
Chrrndigarh

State

Small

Industries

Chict Executive, National Traffic Planning & Auto


nratiorr Centre, inivairdrum695 023

lrtr[. CC. Swarninathair

Director, Centi al Road Research Institute

Mis; ILK.. rhrcssh:t

Chief Engineer (Constructioti), Kerala

B .1. C nwtrl [a

15/9, Rustoru Bang,


lonibay-400 002

Sant

Savta

Marg, Byculla,

47. She Director


( iiof ,(; . 51. A ndavan

Highways Research Station, Guindy, Madras

4$,

Director General Border Roads

<<

IRC :52-1981

RECOMMENDATIONS ABOUT THE ALIGNMENr


SURVEY AND GEOMETRIC DESIGN OF
HILL ROADS
1. INTRODUCTION

1.1. These recommendations are intended to be applied as


general controls for the design of single and two-lane hill roads
situated primarily in a rural (i.e. non-urban) area. For this purpose, a hill road is considered as one passing through mountainous
or steep terrain. If a road is located mostly in ~lainor rolling
terrain and stretches of hilly terrain are very short and isolated,
efforts may be made to apply design criteria for plain/rolling terrain
all through if possible. Where this is not viable economically, the
transition from one set of standards to the other should be achieved
in a gradual manner and the traffic guided with the help of appropriate speed signs.
1.2. Design of a hill road need not he restricted to the absolute minimum values set out furtheron. Where conditions are
favourable, and the costs not excessive, use of more liberal values
than the minimum should be preferred.
1.3. The first edition of the recommendations printed in
June, 1973 were drafted initially by the Subcommittee of the
Specifications and Standards Committee set up in 1968 and approved
by the Specifications and Standards Committee, Executive Committee and the Council in their meetings held in March and April,
1973 respectively.
On the authorisation of the Specifications and Standards
Committee in their meetings held at Gauha.ti on the 26th October,
1979 and at Jaipur on the 3rd February, 1980 the present revision
of the recommendations has been done, keeping in view the other
relevant standards which have since been published by the Indian
Roads Congress, by a Working Group comprising Brig.. Gobindar
Singh (Convenor, Specifications and Standards Committee, and
Subcommittee on Hill Roads), i.S. Sodhi (Member-Secretary,
Subcommittee on Hill Roads), R.f. Sikka, (Member-Secretary,
Specifications and Standards Committee), I. K. Natarajan (representing Central Road Research Institute)., A.S. K...rishnaswamy
(representing Directorate General Border Roads) and by H ..A.
Bindra, Deputy Secretary (Research), Indian Roads Congress.
1

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IRC : 52-198t

by the Executive
1981 and the
Council in their meeting held at Ooty on the 20th Septent her, 1981
subject to certain modifications which ~sere authorised to be carried
ottl h~the (ens enor Specifications and Standards Committee and
Member-Secretary Full Roads Subcommittee.
These recommendations were approved

(o itt iii ittec through circulation c:n the 1st September,

2.

DEFINITIONS

2.1. Steep terrain, is a terrain where cross slope of the country is generally greater than 60 per cent.

2.2. Mountainous terrain, is a terrain with cross slope ranging


Irons 25 to 6d per cent.
2.3.

RollIng terrain, is a terrain with cross slope between 10

and 25 per cent.


2.4. PlaIn terrain, is a terrain where cross slope of the country
is generally less than 10 per cent.

2.5. Ruling gradient, is a. gradient which in the normal course

must never he exceeded in any part of a road.

2.6. Limiting gradient, is a gradient steeper than the ruling

in restricted lengths where keeping


v, ithin the ruling gradient is not feasible.
gradient which may be used

2.7. Exceptional gradient, is a gradient steeper than the limiting


o,iatlient which may be
Sit ttat ions.

used in short stretches only in extraordinary

3. SCOPE.
3.1 . The standard is relevant to new roads
rnent itt esisting roads. it is, however, not
toa sls or city streets situated in hilly terrain.

as well as improve
applicable to urban

3.2. The text deals ssith two main aspects of hill road construclicra, namely, alignment surveys for route selection and geometric
dcsitzn nt the alignment. The first aspect, namely, the alignment
survey including reconnaissance and preliminary surveys etc. is
disctt~sctl ~it detail in Section 5. The various elements of geome
Inc dcsign arc covered at length in Sections 6 to 15.

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IRC:52-1911

4. CLASSIFICATION OP HILL ROADS


4.1. As in the case of other roads, hill roads may be classified as one or the following:
(a) National Highways
(b) State Highways
(C) Major District Roads
(d) Other District Roads
(e) Village Roads

4.2. Each classification may also be qualified by a suffix indimaximum laden weight of vehicles in tonnes which
could negotiate the road safely.
cative of the

5. AUGNMENT SURVEY

5.1. Geaseal
5.l.l. AdmInistrative, developmental, strategic and other
needs would determine the obligatory points to be connected by a
hill road. Control points will be governed by saddles, passes,
river crossings, and other natural features like escarpments and
unstable areas.
5.1.2. For arriving at a few possible alternative alignments,
the Investigation should start only from the obligatory summit points
and proceed downwards. To attempt to trace a mountain road
from a fixed point below the summit points would be a very difficult task.
5.1.3. The alignment finally selected linking the obligatory
and control points, should fit In well with the landscape. It should
satisfr the requirements ofgeometrics vis-a-vis the needs oftraffic,
as also the terrain and climatic conditions. Optimum alignment
will be one which yields the least overall transportation cost, takia
Into account the costs of construction and maintenance of the rca
as well as the recurring cost of vehicle operation, and at the same
time have least adverse impact on the environment and ecological
balance.
5.1.4. The mute should avoid the Introduction of hair-pin
bends as far as possible. However if such a provision becomes

inevitable, the number of hair-pin bends should be reduced to


3

<<

IRC 52-1981

and the inevitability of each hairpin bend should


be recorded in the reconnaissance report. Further, the bends
should be located on stable and fiat hill slopes, and their location
in \alle)s avoided. Also, a series of hairpin bends on the same
face of the hill should he avoided.
absolute mini in urn

Procedure of Fixing the Alignment

52.

5.2. I. The alignment of a hill road is fixed and translated on


the ground in several operations
(a~Reconnaissance
b) Preli rn mary sursey
c) Determination of final centre line

(d) Final local ion survey


5 2.2. Durinc,~ reconnaissance, a general route for the alignment is selected A trace is cut thereafter corresponding to this,
so as to provide an access for the subsequent surveys. The final
alignment to desired geometries is marked on the ground in the
last phase.

5.2.3. it is imperatis~c that the personnel in charge of survey


and design sl~otildkeep in view the salient principles of route selection pertinent to hill roads during the various phases of alignment
finalisation, particularly at the time of initial reconnaissance and the
preliminary surveys following the trace cut. it will be a good
practice to associate the Forest and Geology Departments in all
stages of alignment selection. Broad principles applicable to hill
road I c.cation arc spelt o tit in Appendix I.
5.3.

Reconnaissance

5.3.1 General : The reconnaissance survey may be conduct ed in the Ibllowing sequence
~) Study of topographical survcy sheets, geological and meteorological
maps, and aerial photographs where available.
b~Ac ia I rcconnai ssa ace (where necessary and feasible).
(c) Ground reconnaissance.
linat reco nnaicsance of inaccessible and cl itlicult stretches,
.

5.3.2.. Study of survey sheets, maps, etc. Reconnaissance


hcgins ss ith a study of all the available maps. In India, topographical shcetsar e availablo to the scale of I : 50,000. After study of

<<

IRC 52-1951

the topographical features on the maps, a number of alignments


feasible in a general way are selected keeping in view the guiding
principles set forth in Appendix I.
If photographs of the area are not available, but their need is
considered imperative, aerial photography may be arranged for
further study in the interest of overall economy. These may be to
a scale of i 20,000 to I 50,000 to supplement the information
from topographic maps. If stereoscopic techniques are applied,
aerial photographs can yield quantitative data, and if studied by a
skilled photo-interpreter, also significant soil and sub-soil information.

5.3.3. Aerial reconnaissance


Aerial reconnaissance will
provide a birds eyeview of the alignments under consideration
along with the surrounding area. It will help to identify factors
which call for rejection or modification of any of the alignments.
Final decision about the alignments to be studied in detail on the
ground could be taken on the basis of the aerial reconnaissance.
5.3.4, Gronnd reconnaissance
The various alternative
routes found feasible as a result of map and aerial photograph
study and aerial reconnaissance are further examined in the field
by ground reconnaissance. As such, this part of the survey is an
important link in the chain of activities leading to selection of the
final route. If possible, a geotechnical engineer should be associated with this phase of the survey work,

Ground reconnaissance consists of general examination of the


ground by walking or ridmg along the probable routes and collecting all available information necessary for evaluating the same
It will be advantageous to start reconnaissance from an obligatory
point situated at the highest level If an area is inaccessible for
ground reconnaissance, recourse may be had to aerial reconnaissance to clear the doubts.
While reconnoitring on the ground, it is advisable to leave
reference pegs to facilitate further survey operations.
Points on which data may be collected during ground reconnaissance are listed in Appendix 2.

5.3.5. Final reconnaissance of inaccessible and difficult


stretches
Ground reconnaissance may disclose certain difficult

stretches which call for detailed examination. A trace cut might


be specially made in such sections for inspection. Apart from this,
5

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tRC

52-1981

before the alignment is accorded final approval by the competent


authority, it may be desirable to have one last round of aerial reconnaissance to resolve the remaning doubts.
5.3,6. Reconnaissance report: Based on intormation collected during the reconnaissance survey, a report should be prepared.
it should include all relevant information collected during tim
survey, a plan to the scale of 1 50,000 showing the alternative
alignments studied alongwith their general profile and rough cost
estimates. It should also discuss the merits and demerits
including the erosion potential and the expected adverse impact on
the environment of the different alternatives to help the selection of
one or more alignments for detailed survey and investigation.

5.4. Preliminary Survey


5.4.1. General The preliminary survey consists of pegging
the route previously selected on the basis of the reconnaissance
survey, cutting a trace 1 .0 to 1.2 m wide and running an accurate
traverse line along it for the purpose of taking longitudinal and cross
sections and establishing bench marks. The data collected at this
stage forms the basis for the determination of the final centre line
of the road. For this reason it is essential that every precaution
should be taken to maintain a high degree of accuracy. Besides the
above, general information concerning traffic, soil conditions,
construction materials, drainage etc. which may be relevant for
fixing the design features is also collected during this phase.
5.4.2. Pegging and trace cut: The line and grade of the
selected alternative is pegged and the trace is cut along the pegged
route. The gradients to be followed at this stage should be easier
than those proposed to be achieved for the road by a margin of
10 to 20 per cent i.e. if 5 per cent gradient is proposed to be
achieved on the road, the gradient of the pegged alignment should
be 4 to 4.5 per cent. The indication about the grade should be
provided at conspicuous locations so as to be easily visible from a
distance. This can be done by debarking a portion of any nearby
tree and writing thereon the number, direction, distance and
relative elevation of the peg with paint. Where no trees are
available for this purpose, about 2 m high poles, with a cross piece
attached thereto giving this information, may be firmly fixed in the
ground
Trace cut consists of 1.0 to 1.2 metre wide track constructed
along the selected alignment to facilitate access to the area for inspection and survey. It may not be possible to cut a trace where
6

<<

IRC :52-1981

the pegged route traverses precipices and other areas affected by


major landslides. These stretches may, therefore, be detoured by
cutting the trace either along the top or bottom periphery of these
areas. Further, in rocky areas where cutting of trace may be a
difficult task, platforms made out of local timber or bamboos
(macbans) supported over a bally framework resting on ledges can
be provided. These machans can also be supported by cane or
ropes hung from trees above. The machans can also be constructed
in a very dense jungle where trace cut may not be feasible. It is
desirable that a senior engineer should walk over the trace cut
before further survey work is undertaken to derive benefit from his
exnerience for selection of the best possible route.
5.4.3. Survey procedure
The survey should cover a strip
of sufficient width taking into account the degree and extent of
cut/fill, with some allowance for possible shift in the centre line of
the alignment at the time of final design. In the normal course, a
strip width of about 30 m in straight or slightly curving reaches
(i.e. 15 m on either side of centre line) and 60 m at sharp curves
and hair-pin bends (i.e. 30 m on either side of centre line) should
meet the requirement. Strip width could be somewhat less in the
case of lower category roads.
Traverse along the trace should be run with a theodolite and
all angles measured by double reversal method. Ahernatively,
this can be done by prismatic compass, particularly for less impor
tant roads. Distances along the traverse line should he measured
with metallic tape or chain.
No hard and fast rule can be laid down as regards distance
between two consecutive transit stations. In practice, the interval
will be dictated by directional changes in the alignment, terrain
conditions and visibility. The transit station~should be marked by
means of stakes and numbered in sequence. These should he
protected and preserved till the final location survey.
Physical features such as buildings, monuments, burial grounds,
burning places, places of worship, pipelines, power/telephone lines,
existing roads and railway lines, stream/river/canal crossings, crossdrainage structures etc. that are likely to affect the project proposals should be located by means of offsets measured from the
traverse line.
Levelling work includes taking ground levels along the trace
cut at intervals of 10 in and at abrupt changes in slope and also

<<

!RC: 52-198t
establishing bench niarks at intervals of 250 metres, exceptionally
500 metres by running check levels on a closed traverse basis
independently. While levelling along the centre line, readings of
bench marks should also be taken so as to have a cross check in
regard to accuracy of field work. It is particularly important that
a single datum preferably OTS datum should be used to tie up all
levels.
Cross sections should be taken at intervals of 20 m and at
points of appreciable change in soil conditions. While taking cross
sections, soil classificaticn should also be recorded. At sharp curves
and difficult locations, detailed levelling may be done for the plotting of contours. Interval of contours may be 2 m though this could
be varied according to site conditions.
Map Preparation
5.5.1. At conclusion of the preliminary survey, plans and
longitudinal sections (tied to an accurate base line) are prepared for
detailed study to determine the final centre line of the road. At
critical locations like sharp curves, hair-pin bends, bridge crossings
etc. the plans should also show contours at 1-3 metre intervals, so
as to facilitate the final decision.
5.5.

Scales for the maps should generally be the same as


final drawings. Normally the horizontal scale might
the vertical scale 1: 100. However, for study of
difficult locations such as steep terrain, hair-pin bends etc., it may
become necessary to have plans to a larger scale.
5.5.2

adopted for the


be 1 : 1000 and

5.6.

DetermInation of Final Centre Line


5.6.1. Determination of final centre line of the road in design
office is a fore-runner to the final location survey. This involves
the following operations:
(i) Making use of plans from the preliminary survey showing the
longitudinal profile, cross-sections and contours, a few alternative
alignments for the final centre line of the road are drawn and
studied and the best one satisfying the engineering, aesthetic,
economic and environmental requirements selected. Factors like
economy of earthwork, least disturbance of local geology, efficient
drainage, advantages of cut versus fill, requirements of protective
works such as retaining/breast walls etc. should be kept in view
while making the final choice of alignment.

(ii) For the selected alignment, a trial grade line is drawn taking into

account the controls which are established by mountain passes,


intersections with other roads, railway/river crossings, unstable
areas etc. In the case of improvements to an existing road, the
existing levels are also kept in view.

<<

IRC: 52-1981

(iii) For the alignment finally chosen, a study of the horizontal alignment in conjunction with the profile is carried out and adjustmentc

made in both as necessary for achieving proper coordination.


(iv) Horizontal curves moulding spiral transitiorn are designed and the
final centre line marked on the map.
(v) The vertical curv~sare designed and the profile shown on the
longitudinal section.

5.6.2. Where warranted, the alignment determined in the


design office my also be~cross-checked in the field.
5.7. FInal Location Survey
5.7.1. General: The purpose of the final location survey is to
lay out the final centre line of the road in the field based on the
alignment selected in the design office and to collect necessary data
for the preparation of working drawings. The completeness and
accuracy ofthe project drawing and estimates of quantities depends
a great deal on the precision with which this survey is carried out.
The two main operations involved in the survey are: staking
out the final centre line of the road by means of a continuous transit (theodolite) survey; and detailed levelling.
5.7.2. Transit survey: The centre line of the road, as determined in the design office, is translated on the ground by means
of a continuous transit survey and pegging of the centre line as the
survey proceeds. All angles should be measured with a transit.
It will be necessary to fix reference marks for this purpose. These
marks should be generally 20 m apart in straight reaches and 10 m
apart in curved reaches. To fix the centre line, reference pillars/
control burfis should be firmly embedded in the ground. These
should be located beyond the expected edge of the cutting on the
hill side. The maximum spacing of reference pillars may be 100 in.
The following information should be put down on the reference
pillars:
(a) Reduced distance
(b) Horizontal distance from the
centre line of the road
(C) Reduced level at the top of the reference pillar
(d) Formation level of the road

The reference pillars should be so located that these will not


be disturbed during construction. Description and location of the
reference pillars should be noted for reproduction on the final alignment plans. Distance of the reference pillars should be measured
along the slope, the slope angle determined with theodolite, and the
actual horizontal projection calculated.

<<

IRC : 52-1981
The final centre line ot the road should be suitably staked,
stakes being fixed at 20 metre intervals. The stakes are intended
only for short period for taking levels of the ground along the centre
line and cross-sections with reference thereto. in the case of existing roads paint marks may be used instead of stakes.
Distance measurements along the final centre line should be
continuous, following the horizontal curves where these occur.
At the road crossings, the angles which the intersecting roads
make with the final centre line should be measured with the help of
a transit. Similar measurements should be made at railway level
crossings.
5.7.3. Bench marks: To establish firm vertical control for location, design and construction, bench marks established during the
preliminary survey should be re-checked and where likely to be
disturbed during construction re-established at intervals of 250
metres (exceptionally 500 metres), and at or near all drainage
crossings.

5.7.4. LongItudInal sections, and cross-sections: Levels along


the final centre line should be taken at all staked stations and at all
breaks in the ground.
Cross-sections should be taken at 20 in intervals. in addition,
cross-sections should be taken at points of begining and end of spiral
transition curves, at the beginning, middle and end of circular curves,
and at other critical locations. All cross-sections should be with
reference to the final centre line, extend normally upto the right-ofway limits and show levels at every 2-5 metre intervals and all
breaks in the profile.
Centre line profile should normally be continued at least 200
metres beyond the limits of the project. This is intended to ensure
proper connecting grades at both ends. With the same objective,
profile along all intersecting roads should be measured upto a distance of about 150 metre. Furtber, at railway level crossings, the
level of the top of the rails, and in the case of subways the level of
the roof, should be noted. On existing roads, levels should be
taken at all points of intersection in order to help the final fixation
of profile.
5.7.5. Proper protection of points of reference: The final
location survey is considered complete when all necessary informa-

10

<<

lRC:52-t9St
tion is available and ready for the designer to be able to plot the
finnl road profile and prepare the project drawings. Among other
things field notes should give a clear description and location of all
the bench marks and reference points. This information should be
transferred to the plan drawings, so that at the time of construction
the centre line and the bench marks could be located in the field
without any difficulty.

At the time of execution, all construction lines will be set out


and checked with reference to the final centre line established
during the final location survey. It is important, therefore, that
not only all the points referencing the centre line should be protected and preserved but these are so fixed at site that there is little
possibility of their being disturbed or removed till the construction
is completed.
in the last stage of alignment survey, hydrological and soil
investigations for the route should be carried out. These will enable details of drainage and protective works to be decided.
6. BASIC PRINCIPLES OF GEOMETRIC DESIGN

6.1. A uniform application of design standards is most desirable from the viewpoint of road safety and smooth flow of traffic.
The use of optimum design standards will reduce the possibility of
early obsolescence of the facilities brought about by inadequacy of
the original standards.

6.2. As a general rule, geometric features of a highway


cross-sectional elements do not lend to stage construction.

except
Particularly in the case of hill roads, improvement of features like grade
and curvature at a later date can be very expensive and may sometimes be impossible. It is therefore necessary that ultimate geometric requirements of hilt roads should be kept in view right in the
beginning.
6.3. Development of cross-section in stages is technically
feasible. But this should be decided only after very careful consideration, since hill roads need a lot of permanent works like retaining walls, breast wails, catchwater drains etc. which may have to
be altogether rebuilt, If stage construction is unavoidable, better
strategy will be to use dry masonary for drains, breast walls, pitching etc., locate the interceptor drain well back at the very start, and
provide culverts to full width to avoid the need for their widening
subsequently.

<<

ii

IRC: 52-1981

6.4. The design standards recommended furtheron are


absolute minimum. However the minimum values should be applied only where serious restrictions are placed by technical or
economic considerations. General effort should be to exceed the
minimum values as far as possible. Where even the minimum
design standards cannot be adopted for inescapable reasons, proper
signs should be put up sufficiently in advance to inform the road
users of the reduction in design speed.
7. WIDTHS OF ROAD LAND, ROADWAY, CARRIAGEWAY AND
SHOULDERS

7.1. Desirable widths of road land (also termed as right-ofway) for various categories of roads is given in Table 1.
TABLE

SI.
No.

1.

DEsIRABLE ROAD

Road classification

LAND Winius (Metres)

Open areas
Northal

Built u p areas

Excep-

Normal

Excep-

tional

tional

1. National and State Highways

24

18

20

18

2. Major District Roads

18

15

15

12

3. Other District Roads


4. Village Roads

15

12

12
9

!~
9

Notes: (1) In order to ensure proper sight distance, it may be necessary to

acquire additional right-of-way over that indicated in the Table.


The right-of-way should be enough toenture a minimum set-back
of 5 m for building line from the centx~line of the road,

(2) Additional land with reference to the requirements n,ay be acquired


at locations involving deep cuts, high fills and unstable or landslide

areas.

(3) If a road is expected to be upgraded to a higher classification in


the foreseabk future, the land width should correspond to the
higher class of road.
7.2. Widths of carriageway, shoulder and roadway for
various categories of roads should be as given in Table 2.

<<

12

IRC: 52-1981
TABLE 2. Wiurns

OF

CARRIAGEWAY, SHOULDER AND ROADWAY

Highway classification

Carriageway
width
(metres)

Shoulder
width
(metres)

Roadway
width
(metres)

3,75
7.0

2>1.25
2x0.9

6.25
8.8

(b) Major Distt. Roads and

3.75

2x0.5

4.75

(c) Village Roads

3.00

2x0.5

4.0

(a) National Highways and State


Highways:

i) Single lane
ii) Double lane

Other Distt. Roads

Notes: (I) The roadway widths given in the Table are exclusive of parapets
(usual width 0.6 m) and side drains (usual width 0.6 in).
(2) The roadway widths for village roads are on the basis of a single
lane carriageway of 3 m. Widths greater than 3 m may however be
adopted judiciously depending on the type and intensity of traffic,
cost and related factors. In that case the roadway width should
be Increased correspondingly.
(3) In hard rock stretches, or unstable locations where excess cutting
might lead to slope failure, width of roadway may be reduced by
0.8 in on two4ane roads and 0.4 m in other cases. However where
such stretcheS occur in continuous long length, reduction in roadway width should not be effected unless requisite passing places
vide para 15 are provided.
(6) On horIzontal curves, the roadway width should be increased
corresponding to the extra widening of carriageway for curvature,
vldepara 11.5.
(5) On roads subject to heavy snowfall, where regular snow clearance
is done over long periods to keep the road open to traffic, roadway
width may be increased by 1.5 m for MDRs, ODRs and VRs.

7.3. The clar roadway width available on culverts, scuppers


and causeways (measured from inside to inside of parapet walls or
kerbs) should be as given below
All

roads other than Village Roads


Village Roads
minimum

...

...

desirable

...

as given in Table 2.
as given in Table 2.
4.25 m

7.4. At bridges (greater than 6 m span), the clear width of


roadway between kerbs should be as under:

13

<<

IRC 52-1981
Single-lane bridge
Two-lane bridge

4.25 in

...

7.5

in

8. CAMBER/CROSSFALL

8.1. Generally, the pavement on straight reaches should be


provided with a crown in the middle and surface on either side
sloping towards the edge. However, this may not be possible in
every situation, particularly in reaches with winding alignment
where straight sections are few and far between. In such cases
discretion may be exercised and instead of normal camber the
carriageway may be given a uni-directional crossfall towards the
hill side having regard to factors such as the direction of superelevation at the flanking horizontal curves, ease of drainage, problem
of erosion of the down-hill face etc.
8.2.
should be
values of
of rainfall

The camber or crossfall on straight sections of roads


as given below. For a given surface type, the steeper
camber should be adopted in areas having high intensity
and the lower values where the intensity of rainfall is

low.
(a) Earth roads

3 to 4 per cent
(1 in 33 to I in 25)

..

(b) Gravel or WBM


surface
(c) Thin bituminous

...

2.5 to 3 per cent


(1

..

surfacing

(d) High type bituminous


surfacing

,,.

in 40 to I in 33~

2.0 to 2.5 per cent


(I in SOto tIn 40)
1.7 to 2.0 per cent
(I in60tol in 50)

8.3. The crossfall for earth shoulders should be at least 0.5


per cent more than the pavement camber subject to a minimum of
3 per cent.
8.4. If the shoulders are paved, a crossfalt appropriate to the
type of surface as given in para 8.2 should be selected.
8.5. On superelevated sections, the shoulders should normally
have the same crossfall as the pavement.
9.

DESIGN SPEED

9.1. The design speeds for various categories of hill roads


should be as given in Table 3.

14

<<

52-19S1

TABLE 3. DEsIGN SPEEDS (kmjh)

1. National and State Highways


2. Major District Roads
3.
Other District Roads
4~. Village Roads

50
40

40

40

30

30

30
20

30

25

25

20

25

20

25

20

9.2. Normally, ruling design speed should be the guiding


criterion for correlating the various geometric features. Minimum
design speed may however be adopted in sections where site conditions including costs do not permit that.
10. SIGHT DISTANCE

1O.i. Visibility is an important requirement for safety on


roads. For this, it is necessary that sight distance of adequate
length should be available in different situations to permit drivers
enough time and distance to control their vehicles so that there are
no unwarranted accidents.
10.2. Three types of sight distance **are relevant in so far as
the design of summit vertical curves or visibility at the horizontal
curves are concerned Stopping Sight Distence, Intermediate Sight
Distance and Overtakmg Sight Distance On hilt roads stopping
sight distance is the absolute minimum from safety angle and
must be ensured regardless of any other considerations ft will be
good practice though if this value can be exceeded and visibility
corresponding to intermediate sight distance provided in as much
length of the road as possible. Advantage of intermediate sight
distance is that drivers are able to get reasonable opportunities to
overtake with caution and the driving task becomes much easier Provision of overtaking sight distance is by and large not feasible on
hill roads and therefore this category of sight distance is not discussed further.
10.3. Stopping sight distance is the clear distance ahead needed
by a driver to bring his vehi~Ieto a stop before meeting a stationary
object in his path, and is calculated as the sum of braking distance
**These are dealt with in greater detail in IRC : 664976 Recommended
Practice for Sight Distance on Rural Highways.

15

<<

IRC : 52-1981

required at the particular speed plus the distance travelled by the


vehicle during perception and brake reaction time. Intermediate
sight distance is defined as twice the stopping sight distance. Design
values for both these sight distances and the criteria for their measurement are given in Tables 4 and 5 respectively.
TABLE

4. DEs~oNVALuas OP STOPPING AND INTERMEDIATE SIGHT DISTANCE


FOR V~itiousSPEEDS

Speed
(kmjh)

Design values

metres

Intermediate sight distance

Stopping sight distance


20
25
30
35
40
50

40
50
60
80
90
120

20
25
30
40
45
60

CRiTERIA FOR MEASURING Sxorr DInANCE

TABLE 5.

Sl.No,

1,
2.

Driver eye
height

Sight distance

Safe stopping sight distance


intermediate sight distance

1.2 m
1.2 m

Height of
object
0.15 m
1.2 m

10.4. Application of sight distance criteria for summit vertical


curve design is covered in para 12.5. On valley cnrves, the design
is governed by night visibility. This is discussed in para 12.6. Sight
distance requirements at horizontal curves are dealt with in para

11.6,
11. HORIZONTAL ALIGNMENT
11.1. General

11.1.1. Tn general, horizontal curves should consist of a circular portion flanked by spiral transitions at both ends. Design speed,
superelevation and coefficient of side friction affect the design of
circular curves. Length of transition curve is determined on the
basis of rate of change of centrifugal acceleration or the rate of
change of superelevation.

16

<<

IRC: 52-1981
11.1.2. Minimum radius curves should be adopted only when
absolutely necessary. Similarly, curves with little or no tangent
length between them should be avoided. Broken-back curves, i.e.
two curves in the same direction separated by a short tangent,
should be avoided as far as possible and replaced with a single
curve. At reverse curves, sufficient gap should be ensured between
the two curves for introduction of the requisite transition curves.
11.1.3. Compound curves may be used only when it is impossible to fIt in a single circular curve. To ensure safe and smooth
transition from one curve to the other, the radius of the flatter curve
should not be disproportional to the radius of the sharper curve. A
ratio of 1.5:1 should be considered the limiting value.
11.2. Superelevation
11.2.1. Superelevation to be provided on curves is calcula;ed
from the following formula:
Vt

where
e
V
R

=
=

superelevation in metre per metre


design speed in km[h
radius of the curve in metres

11.2.2. Superelevation obtained from the above expression


should however be kept limited to 7 per cent in snow-bound areas
and 10 per cenL in areas not bound by snoW.
11.2.3. The change-over from normal section to superelevated section should be achieved gradually over the full length of the
transition curve so that the design superelevation is available at the

starting point of the circular curve. In cases where the transition


curve cannot be provided for some reason, two-third superelevation
may be attained on the straight and the balance one-third on the
circular curve.
11.2.4. From standpoint of surface drainge, the superelevation should not be less than the camber appropriate to the type of
wearing surface, Accordingly, when the value of superelevation
obtained from the above expression is less than the road camber,
the normal crowned section may be continued on the curved portion
without providing any superelevation.

17

<<

IRC : 52.1981
11.3.

Minimum Curve Radii

11.3.1. On a horizontal curve, the centrifugal force is

by the combined effects of superelevation and side friction.


The basic equation for this condition of equilibrium is

balanced

or

R= 1fl(e+f)
where
v
V
g
e

=
=

=
=

vehicle speed in metre per second


vehicle speed in km/h

1
acceleration due to gravity in metre per sec
superelevation ratio in metre per metre
coefficient of side friction between vehicle tyres
and pavement (taken as 0.15)
radius in metres

Based on this equation and the maximum permissible values of


superelevation given in para 11.2.2., radii for horizontal curves
corresponding to ruling minimum and absolute minimum design
speeds are shown in Table 6.
TABLa 6,

MINIMuM

RADII OF

CuavilS POR VAluoul CLASSES OE


Hiu~Ro~.ns

HORIZONTAL

Mountainous terrian

Steep terrain

Areas not Snow-bound Areas not Snow-bound


affected by
areas
affected by
areas
snow

Snow

Classification of road

,_~

~ j~..
oa,~.
q,

~,

E.

1. NatIonal Highways

I)~
~c
~.

o.

~.

4~

80

50

90

60

2. Major District Roads 50


3. Other District Roads 30
4. Village Roads
20

30

60

33

20

33

14

23

23
15

U .
~

o.

~
.

~
~

50

U ,

oa~

30

60

33

30

14

33

15

20
20

14
14

23
23

15
15

and State Highways

minimum radii are for ruling design


speed and minimum design speed respectively.

Note: Ruling minimum and absolute

18

<<

IRC 52..1981
11.3.2. On new roads, horizontal curves should be designed
to have the largest practicable radius, generally more than the
values corresponding to the ruling design speed (see Table 6).
However, absolute minimum values based on minimum design speed
might be resorted to if economics
of construction or the
site conditions so dictate. While improving existing roads, curves
having radii corresponding to absolute minimum standards may not
be flattened unless it is necessary to realign the road for some other
reasons.
11.4.

TransItion Curves

11,4.1. Spiral curve should be used for transitions. These


are necessary for smooth entry of vehicles from a straight section
into a circular curve. The transition curves also improve aesthetic
appearance of the road, besides permitting gradual application of
the superelevation and extra widening at curves.
11.4.2. Minimum length of transition curves for various radii
is given in Table 7.
TABLE 7.

MINIMuM TRANSITIoN LENGTH FOR DInBRENT Snrns AND

Cuave RADII

Curve radius (metre)

50

Design speed (km/h)


40
30

is

20

25
30

40
50
55
70
80

90
100

125

150
170

200
300
400
500

NA
40

40
30
25
25
20

NA

55

45
45
35

15

30

15

IS

25
20

15

15

MR

15

NR
NANot applicable

NRTransitaon not required


19

<<

NA
30

25

20

20
15

15
15
15
15
15

Nit

25

20

NA

35
25

30
20
20

20

15
15

25

15

15

15

15
15

15

NIt

15
15

15

NIt

IRC 52-1981

11.4.3. The elements of a combined circular and transition


curves are illustrated in Fig. 1. For deriving values of the individual
elements like shift, tangent distance, apex distance etc. and working
out coordinates to lay the curves in the field, it is convenient to use
curve tables, For this, reference may be made to IRC : 38 Design
Tables for Horizontal Curves for Highways.
11.5.

WIdening at Curves

11.5.1. At sharp horizontal curves, it is necessary to widen


the carriageway to facilitate safe passage of vehicles. The widening required has two components:
(1) Mechanical widening to compensate the extra width occupied by
a vehicle on the curve due to tracking of the rear wheels, and
(ii) Psychological widening to permit easy crossing of vehicles since
vehicles in a lane tend to wander more on a curve than on a

straight reach.

11.5.2. On two-lane or wider roads it is necessary that


both the above components should be fully catered for so that the
lateral clearance between vehicles on curves is maintained equal
to the clearance available on straights. Position of single lane roads
however is somewhat different, since during crossing manoeevres
outer wheels of vehicles have in any case to use the shoulders
whether on the straight or on the curve. It is therefore sufficient
on single lane roads if only the mechanical component of widening
is taken into account.
11.5.3. Based on the above considerations, the extra width
of carriageway to be provided at horizontal curves on single and
two-lane roads is given in Table 8
TABLE 8.

Radius of curve (in)


Extra width (m)
Two-lane.

Single-lane

WIDENING OF PAvEMENT AT CURVES


Upto 20

21

40

tO

41 to

60

61 to

100

1.5

L5

1.2

0,9

0.9

0.6

0,6

Nil

101 to
300

0.6
Nil

above
300

Nil
Nil

11.5.4. The widening should be effected by increasing the


width at an approximately uniform rate along the transition curve.
The extra width should be continued over the full length of the
20

<<

~!
0.

Q:

9.

U
UI~

~
00
~

-J

I.-

I-

o
20.
2
~
,..

.
.

<

.Ju

~
04

I-

4Z5

~)i ~

uj4

~ Z~
~
~
4

~
~
i-.

0
Q~

.~

Lii
LiJ>
~
4

~>4
0~

w
>

!
~

0
4
~

l~

,
.

.9

Lii

Z
4

Li

,
z~)

ci

)-

I-

~!

XI
2

Z~O
~
2 U
4
~
~- ~

~-

~
I
~

21

IRC 52.19g1

I,
U
0

I-

I.
(3
U
~0
U

E
0

U
~8

<<

IRC :52-1981

circular curve, On curves having no transition, widening should be


achieved in the same way as the superelevation i.e. two-third being
attained on the straight section before start of the curve and onethird on the curve.
11.5.5. Preferably the entire widening should be done only
on the inside of the curve. The extra widening may be attained
by means of offsets radial to the centre line. It should be ensured
that the pavement edge lines are smooth and there is no apparent
kink.
I

Ii .6. Set-back DIstance at Horizontal Curves


11.6.1 Requisite sight distance should be available across
the inside of horizontal curves. Lack of visibility in the lateral
direction may arise due to obstructions like walls, cut slopes,
wooded areas,high crops etc. Set-back distance from the centre line
of the carriageway within which the offending obstructions should
be cleared to ensure the needed visibility can be determined vide
para 11.6.2. However in certain cases, due to variations in alignment, road cross-section, and the type and location of obstructions,
it may become necessary to resort to field measurements to fix the
exact limits of clearance.
11.6.2. The set-back distance is calculated from the following
equation (see Fig. 2 for definitions)
m
where 6

R.-(R---n)

-~

~-ti~

Cos 6
radians

in = the minimum set-back distance from the centre line of the


road to sight obstruction in metres at the middle of the
curve
R
radius of centere line of the road in metres
it = distance between the centre line of the road and the inside
lane in metres
S = sight distance in metres

11.6.3. For applying the above relationship, sight distance is


measured along the middle of inner lane. However on single-lane
roads, sight distance is measured along centre line of the carriageway and n is taken as zero.
11.6.4. Utilising the above equation, the design values for
set-back distance corresponding to safe stopping distance for smgle

22

<<

0
W4

U-

0
-J

ww
UJ
-0

23

~
~

.0

.~

i!E
o~, ~
~

.c .E ;;

II I

ii

.~

IRC: 52-1981

~~

.~

~~C~UU
~~,_

I-

0
.4

.0

<<

ERC : 52-1981
lane carriageway are given m Tabe 9.

These design values relate


basically to circular curves longer than the design sight distance.
For shorter curves, the values of set-back distance given in Table 9
will be somewhat on the higher side, but these can any way be used

as a guide. Lateral clearances for two lane carriageway can be


computed similarly from the above equation.
TABtS 9.

RrcoMMn.~DFnSET-~cKDisTANCES

FOR SINGLF-IANE

CArnuAGEWAY

Set-back distance in metres


Radius of circular

curve in metres

S=20

in

(V~20
km;h)

S=25 m
(V=25

km/h)

5=30 m
(V~30
km!h)

S=45 in
(V~4O
km/h)

S=60

km/h)

14
15
20

3,4
3.2
2.4

3,8

23

2.1

3.3

30
33
50

1.7
1.5
1.0

2.6

3.7

2.3

3,4

1.6

60

80

2.2
1.9
1.4
1.1
0.9

5,0
4.2
3.1
2.5
2.1

5.6
4.5
3.7

o,g

1.7

2,3

100
120
15()

1.3
1.0
0.8
0.7
0.5

*
.*

in

(V=50

11.6.5. Lateral clearances for intermediate sight distance


can
1y too large
he
computed
similarly
but
the
set-back
required
is
usual
to be economically feasible in the case of hilt roads.
11.6.6.

Where there i

5 a cut slope on the inside of the horicurve, the average height of sight line can be used as an approximation for deciding the extent of clearance. For stopping sight
Oistance this may be taken as 0.7 m. Cut slopes should be kept lower
than this height at the line demarcating the set-back distance envelope, either by cutting hack the slope or benching suitably.
11.6.7. Where a horizontal and summit vertical curve overlap,
the line of sight will not be over the top of the crest but to one side,
and in part iii~ty be off the roadway. Design in such cases should
~ontal

<<

24

IRC: 52-1981

provide &r the required sight distance both in the vertical direction
along the pavement and in the horizontal direction on the inside of

the curve.
12. vERTICAL ALIGNMENT

12.1. General
12.1 .1. The vertical align nen t should provide for a smooth
longitudinal profile consistent with category of road and the terrain.

Grade changes should not be too frequent as to cause kinks and


visual discontinuities in the profile.

12.1.2. Grades should be carefully selected keeping in view


the design speed, terrain conditions and the nature of traffic expected on the road. It is difficult and costly to flatten the gradients
later.
12.1.3. Broken-back grade lines, i.e. two vertical curves in the
same direction separated by a short tangent, should be avoided due
to poor appearance, and preferably replaced by a single curve.

12.1.4. Decks of small cross-drainage structures (i.e. culverts


and minor bridges) should follow the same profile as the flanking
road section, with no break in the grade line.
12.1.5. The vertical profile should beco-ordinated suitably with
the horizontal alignment (see Section 13).
12.2. Gradients
12.2.1. Recommended gradients for different terrain conditions
except at hair-pin bends are given in Table 10.
TABLE

10.

t~ FOR DIFFERENT TaaRASN


REcOMMENDED GRADiENTs

Classification of
gradient

(a) Ruling gradient


(b) Limiting gradient
(c) Exceptional gradient

Mountainous terrain
and steep terrain
having elevation more
than 3000 m above the
mean sea level
5% (1 in 20)
6% (I in 16.7)
7% (1 in 14.3)

**For gradients at hair.pin bends, see Section 14.

<<

25

ConDiTions

Steep terrain upto

3000 m height above


the mean sea level

6% (1 in 16.7)
7% (1 in 14,3)

8% (I in l2~5)

IRC: 52-1981

12.2.2. Gradients upto the ruling gradient may be used as


a matter of course in design.

12.2.3. The ~limitinggradients may be used where the topography of a place compels this course or where the adoption of gentler
gi~adientswould add enormously to the cost. In such cases, the
length of continuous grade steeper than the ruling gradient should be
limited as far as possible.

12.2.4. Exceptional gradients are meant to be adopted only

in very difficult situations and for short lengths not exceeding 100

in

at a stretch. in mountainous and steep terrain, successive stretches


of exceptional gradients must be separated by a minimum length of
100 m having gentler gradient (i.e. limiting gradient or flatter).
12.2.5. The rise in elevation over a 2 km length shall not
exceed 100 in in mountainous terrain and 120 in in steep terrain.
12.3. Grade Compensation at Curves
12.3.1. At horizontal curves, the gradients should be eased by
an amount known as the grade compensation which is intended to
offset the extra tractive effort involved at curves. This may be
calculated from the following formula:
Grade compensation (per cent) =
Subject to a maximum of 75!R where B. is radius of the curve in
metres.

12.3.2. Since grade compensation is not necessary for gradients flatter than 4 per cent, when applying grade compensation
correction, the gradients need not be eased beyond 4 per cent.

12.4. VertIcal Curves


12.4.1. Vertical curves are introduced for smooth transition
at grade changes. Both summit curves (i.e. convex vertical curves)
and valley/sag curves (i.e. concave vertical curves), should be designed as square parabolas.

12.4.2. The length of the vertical curves is controlled by sight


distance requirements, but curves with greater leilgth are aesthetically better.

<<

26

IRC: 52.19g1

12.4.3. Curves should be provided at all grade changes exceeding those indicated in Table 11. For satisfactory appearance,
the minimum length should be as shown in the Table.
TABLE 11, MINIMuM
Design

Maximum grade change (per cent)


not requiring a vertical curve

speed

(km/h)
Upto

LENGTH OF VERTICAL

CURVES

Minimum length of vertical cu rye (metre)

35
40

1.5

15

1,2

20

50

1.0

20

12.5. Summit Curves


12.5.!. The length of summit curves is governed by the choice
of sight distance, whether stopping sight distance or the intermediate
sight distance.
12.5.2. The required length may be calculated from the
following formulae:
(a)

Fur safe stopping sight distance


Case

(1) When the length of the curve exceeds the required sigh:
distance, i.e. L is greater than S
NS
L
where N= deviation angle, i.e.,

the algebraic difference

between the two grades

Case

length of parabolic vertical curve in metres

sight distance in metres

(ii) When the length of the curve is less than the required
sight distance, i.e., L Is less than S
L=

2S

-~

(b) For intermediate sight distance


Case

(1) When the length ofthe curve exceeds the required sight
distance, i.e. L is greater than S
L

NS~

27

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IRC : 52.1951
Case

(Il) When the length ~(the curve Is less than the required
sight distance, i.e. L is less than S
L

25

12.5.3. The length of summit curve for the various cases


mentioned above can be ibund from Plates I and 2. In these
piates. the value of ordinate M from intersecting point of grade

lines to the curve is also shown.


12.6.

Valley Curves

12.6.1. The length of valley curves should be such that for


night travel, the headlight beam distance is equal to the stopping
sight distance.

Based on this criterion, the length of curve may

be calculated as under:
Case

(1) When the length of curve exceeds the required sight


distance, i.e. L is greater than S
L

Case

1.50

NS

+ 0.035 S

(ii) When the length c~fcurve is less than the required sight
distance I.e. L is less than S

L=2.s

1.50
+ 01)35 S
-

In both cases
= deviation angle, i.e. the algebraic difference
between the two grades
L = length of parabolic vertical curve (in metres)
S = stopping sight distance (in metres)

Note : The above formulae have been derived with the

following assumptions:
1) headlight height = 0.75 in
ii) upward divergence of the light beam t~u In
the longitudinal axis of the vehicle== 1

12.6.2. Length of valley curve for various grade differences


can be read conveniently from Plate 3.
13. ALIGNMENT COMPATIBILtTY

As a general rule, changes in horizontal and vertical alignments should be phased to coincide with each other, i.e. the vertical
28

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IRC 52-1981
curve should roughly extend from the commencement to the end

of the corresponding horizontal curve.

More preferably,

the

horizontal curve should be some what longer than the vertical curve.
Sharp horizontal curves should not be introduced at or near the
top of the summit vertical curves or the lowest point of valley
curves.
14.

HAIR-PIN BENDS

14. I. A hair-pin bend may be designed as a circular curve


with transition curves at each end. Alternatively, compound circular curves may be provided.

14.2. The following design criteria should be adopted normally for the design of hair-pin bends:
(a) Minimum design speed
(b) Minimum roadway width at apex
(i) National!State Highways

(ii) Major District Roads)


Other District Roads)
(iii) Village Roads
(c) Minimum radius for the inner curye

Maximum
Minimum
Supcrelevat~ort

20 km/h

,..

11.5 m for double-lane

...

9.0 m for single-lane


7.5 rn

...

(d) Minimum length of the transition


(e) Gradient

(f)

...

...

...

...
,..
...

6.5 m
14.0 m
15.0 m
I in 40 (2.5 per cent)
I in 200 (0.5 per cent)
I in tO (10 per cent)

14.3. Inner and outer edges of the roadwa


concentric v, Rh respect to centre line of the pavement.

should be

14.4. Where a number ol hairpin bends lmve lo be intro


cluced. a minimum intervening length of 60 in should be provided
hctween the successive bends to enable the driver to nepofl:.tte the
ahgnment smoothly.
14.5. Widening of hairpin bends at a later date is a difficult
and costly process. .Nloreos cc. gradients tend to become sharper,
as widening can be achies ed generally only by cutting the Li
side.
rhese points should he kept in view at the plannint~stage. srcciailv
w here a set ies of hairpin bends is involved.

29

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IRC: 52-1981

14.6. At hair-pin bends, preferably the full roadway width


should be surfaced.
15. PASSING PLACES

15. 1.

Passing places or lay-byes are required on hill roads to

cater to the following requirements:


(a) To facilitate crossing of vehicles approaching from
the opposite direction; and
(b) To tow aside a disabled vehicle so that it does
not obstruct traffic.
15.2. There is no specific need of passing places on two-lane
National and State Highways having roadway ~idth corresponding
to Table 2. But in the case of single lane sections on Nationaif
State Highways which have a narrower roadway, provision of some
passing places will be desirable and may be decided with respect
to actual needs. On the other categories of roads, these should be
provided in general at the rate of 2-3 per kilometre. The exact
location of passing places should be judiciously determined taking
into consideration the available extra width ott curves and visibility.
15.3. Normally the passing places/lay-byes should be 3.75 m
wide, 30 m long on the inside edge (i.e. towards the carriageway
side), and 20 m long on the farther side.
16, LATERAL AND VERTiCAL CLEARANCES AT UNDERPASSES
16. 1.

Lateral Clearance

16.1.1. Desirably the full roadway width at the approaches


should be carried through the underpass. This implies that the
minimum lateral clearance (i.e. the distance between the extreme
edge of the carriageway and the face of nearest support whether a
solid abutment, pier or column) should equal the normal shoulder
width.
16.1.2. On lower category roads inhill areas having compara
tively narrow shoulders, it will be desirable to increase the roadwaywdth at underpasses to a certain extent keeping in view paras 7.3.
and 7.4. and the principles set forth in IRC : 54-1974 Lateral and
Vertical Clearances at Underpasses for Vehicular Traffic.

30

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IRC 52-1981

16.2.

VertIcal Clearance

16.2.1. Minimum vertical clearance of 5 metres should be


ensured over the full width of the roadway at all underpasses. and
similarly at overhanging cliffs and any semi-tunnel sections etc. The
vertical clearance should be measured with regard to the highest
point of the carriageway, i.e. the crown or the superelevated edge
of the carriageway as the case may be. Due allowance for any
future raising~strengtheningof the pavement should also be made.

31

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IRC 52-1981
Appendix 1

GUIDING PRINCIPLES OF ROUTE SELECTION AND LOCATION


APPLICABLE TO HILL ROADS

General
I. The alignment should be as direct as possible between the obligatory
and control points to be linked, A direct highway link results in economy in
construction, maintenance and operation.
2. The location should result in minimum interference to agriculture
and industry. It should steer clear of obstructions such as cemeteries.
burning ghats, places of worship, archaeological and historical monuments,

and public facilities like hospitals, schools, playgrounds etc.


3.

Where the proposed location interferes with utility services like

overhead transmission lines. water supply lines etc., decision between changing
the highway alignment or shifting the utility services should be based on a
study of the relative economics and feasibility.
4. As far as possible, frequent crossing and re-crossing of railway
lines, canals, water courses, ridges etc. should be avoided.

5. The alignment should avoid large scale cutting and filling, and follow
the lie of the land as far as possible. Use of tunnels to avoid deep cuts should
be considered where feasible and economical. If the road has to be in cutting.
the location and the grade line should permit the adoption of half-cut and
half-fill type of cross-section which involves least disturbance to the natural
ground subject however to considerations of economy and road stability being
satisfied.

Obligatory Points
6. The obligatory points to be connected from administrative, strategic
or other considerations should be ascertained and taken into account while
tinalising the highway alignment. Similarly, control points like mountain
passes, saddles, river crossing etc. should be kept in view when deciding the
a I ignmen t +
7. When crossing mountain ranges, the highway should preferably
cross the sidges at their lowest des at ion. In certain cases it may be more
expedient to negotiate high mountain ranges through tunnels. This decision
should be taken after considering the relative economics or the strntegic
requirements.

Grades and Curvature


S. The route should enable ruling gradient to be attained in most cf

its length.
9. As far as possible. the alignment should permit adoption of a
uniform design speed and easy curvature in the entire length.
10. The route should avoid the introduction of hair-pin bends as far as
possible and their location in valleys avoided. The bends should be located
on stable and flat hilt slopes. Also, a series of hair-pin bends on the sante
face of the hill should he avoided.

33

<<

IRC 52-1981
II. Needless rise and fall must be avoided where the general purpose
of the route is to gain elevation from a lower to a higher point. Also, deep
cuts involving destabilisation of natural hill slopes shottld be avoided,

River Crossings
12. It is preferable that crossings 01 major rivers (waterway exceeding
100 m) should be at right angles to the river flow with highway alignment
subordinated to considerations of the bridge siting. Crossings of medium(
minor streams may also sometimes govern the choice of alignment in the case
of hill roads due to foundation problems, though their position will be determined generally by requirements of the highway proper, and the crossings could
be even skew or on curve if necessary.
13. As far as possible, efforts should be made to locate bridges**
where

(i) the river is straight both on the upstream and downstream side;
(ii) the location is sufficiently away from confluence of tributaries;
(iii) the channel is well-defined and narrow;
(iv) the banks are high, rocky/firm and well defined above the HFL.

Areas to be avoided
14. As far as possible, attempt should be to avoid the following
areas

(i) unstable hill features and areas having perennial


landslide or settlement problems;
(ii) areas subject to seepage/flow from springs, hydel channels,
subterranean channels etc;
(iii) steep hilt sides;
(iv) areas subject to flooding or waterlogging;
(v) areas liable to snow drift or avalanches; and
(vi) locations involving unnecessary and expensive
destruction ofwooded areas.

Miscellaneous
15. Location along a river valley has the inherent advantage of
eomparativety gentle gradients, proximity of inhibited villages, and easy supply
of water for constructton purposes
But this tolution is beset with disadvantages such as the need for a large number or cross-drainage structures and
protective works againt erosion. These pros and cons should be kept in view
while making initial selection of the alignment.
16. The location should be such that the highway is fully integrated
with the surrounding landscape of the area,
It would be desirable to study
the environmental impact of the highway and ensure that the adverse effects
are kept to the minimum.
17. An alignment likely to receive plenty of sunlight should receive
preference over the one which will be in shade.
*

*For detailed instructions about siting of bridges, reference may be made to IRC
Manual for Survey, investigation and Preparation of Bridge Projects (nuder
preparation).

34

<<

..

..-.-

EEC: 52-19*1

AppendIx 2

POINTS ON WFI1CI-1 DATA MAY BE COLLECTED DURING


GROUND RECONNAISSANCE
Details of route vis-a-vis topography of the area
2. Length of the road
3.

Bridging requirementsnumber, length

4.

Geometrics:
(a) Gradients
(b) Curves, hair-pin bends, etc.

5.

Existing means of communicationmule path, jeep track, etc.

6. Right-of-way, bringing out constraints on account of built-up area,


monuments, and other structures
7. Terrain and soIl conditions:
7.1. Geology of the area
7.2. Nature of the soil
7.3. Road length passing through:
(i) mountainous terrain
(ii) steep terrain
(iii) rocky stretches with indication of the length in loose rock

stretches
(iv) areas subject to avalanches and snow drifts
(v) slip-prone areas.
7.4. Cliffs and gorges
7.5. Drainage characteristics of the area including susceptibility to

flooding
7.6. General elevation of the, road indicating maximum and minimum
heights negotiated by main ascets and descents
7.7. Total number of ascents and descents
7.8. Vegetationextent and type
t

<<

Climatic conditions:
8.1. Temperaturemonthly maximum and minimum readings
8.2. Rainfall dataaverage annual, peak intensities, monthly
tion (to the extent available)

35

distribu-

1L

k-

~~

IItC : 52-1981
8.3. Snowfall dataaverage annual, peak intensities, monthly
distribution (to the extent available)
8.4.
8.5.
8.6.
8.7.
9.

Wind direction and velocities


Fog conditions
Exposure to sun
Unusual weather conditions like cloud bursts etc.

Facilities/Resources
9.1. Landing ground
9.2. Dropping zones
9.3. Foodstuffs
9.4. Labourlocal availability and need for import
9.5. Construction materials (timber, bamboo, sand, stones, shingle, etc.)

10.

extent of their availability and leads involved,

11.

Value of land agriculture land, irrigated


built-up land, forest land, etc.
Approximate construction cost

land,

12.

Access points indicating possibility of induction of equipment

13.

Period required for construction

14.

Strategic considerations

15.

Recreational potential

4.

Important villages, towns and marketing centres to be connected

17.

Economic factors
(i) population served by the alignment
(ii) agricultural and economic potential of the area

18,

Other major developmental projects being taken up in


the area e.g. hydro-electric projects

19.

Miscellaneous such as camping sites, law and order problems, royalty


charges, availability of contractors for collection and carriage of
construction materials, working period available for construction work
etc.

<<

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