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Selecting the location of proposed highway is an

important initial step in the design

The decision to select a particular location is usually
based on topography, soil characteristics, environmental
factors (noise and pollution) and economic factors.
The basic principle is that roadway element such as
grade and curvature blend with each other to
provide easy flow for traffic observing the design
criteria and safety standards.
Should cause minimal disruption to historic and
archaeological sites and other land use activity.
Environmental impact studies are required before
highway finally located.
Direct as possible between control points
Gradients - as low & short as possible
Not too long or steep - especially if many HGVs
If gradient long & steep, consider a crawler lane

Minimise property take.
The highway location process involves four
phases, as follows:

1) Office study of existing information

2) Reconnaissance survey

3) Preliminary location survey

4) Final location survey

Examination of all available data of the of area in
which the road is to be constructed.
This phase is carried out in the office before any
field investigation.
These data can be obtained from
existing engineering reports, maps,
aerial photos, and charts
The type and amount of data collected
and examined depend on the highway
In general data should be obtained in the following
characteristics of the area:
Engineering: topography, geology, traffic volumes
Social and demographics: land use, zoning patterns
Environment: wildlife, historic and archaeological sites, noise,
Economic: unit cost for construction, commercial and
industrial activity.
Excluded sites (Example)
At the end of this phase, the engineer will be able to
select general areas through which the highway can
The aim of this phase is to identify several feasible routes.
When rural roads being considered:
limited data available on maps, therefore aerial photography
widely use to obtain data.
Feasible routes identifies taken into consideration several
factors including:

Crossing with
Soil Serviceability Directness of other
conditions of routes route transport
Positions of feasible routes and determine
preliminary the horizontal and vertical alignment.
This preliminary alignment are used to evaluate both the
economic and environmental feasibility of the alternative

evaluation Environmental
Economic evaluation:
Carried out for each alternative route to
determine the future effect of investing,
to have good decision.

Factors taken into consideration Include:

Road user cost and benefits, construction cost, maintenance
cost, disbenefits may occur such as property take.

This evaluation guide the decision makers in determining

whether the highway should be built or not.
Environmental evaluation
The road construction might offset the environmental
equilibrium and reaches significance adverse effect on
environment which lead to a reduction in quality of life.
Requirement of the environmental evaluation:
Detailed description of the alternatives
The probable env. impact (positive or negative)
Analysis of short term and long term impact
Any secondary effect might raise such as social impact
Unavoidable env. impact that might generate
Find the best alternative
Is the detailed layout of the chosen route include:
The vertical alignment
The horizontal alignment
Positions of structures and drainage channels

Detailed design of horizontal and vertical curves is

then carried out to find cut and fill for vertical
curves, and deflection angles for horizontal curves
Primary purpose is different:
Provide Access to recreational sites (lakes and campsites).
Provide special scenic views.

Additional factors should be consider when design

highways for these areas:
Design speed are low (discourage fast drivers)
Only straight alignment when the view is spectacular
Minimum disruption is caused to the area

Avoid areas of natural beauty (with large roads &

Urban areas present complex conditions for highway
location process.
Factors that highly effect the highway location in Urban
areas include:
1) Connection to local roads

2) Right-of-way acquisition

3) Coordination of the highway with other

transport systems

4) Adequate provision for pedestrians and cyclist

Junction location & capacity
When construct freeway in urban areas, it should be
connected with local roads through ramps
Consider the existing traffic pattern in the area
The freeway location should enhance the flow of traffic
Traffic assignment can be used to determine the effect on
flow on existing street.
The location should provide adequate SD on ramps
Ramps should not confuse the traffic on the freeway
The high cost largely depend on the land use of the
proposed highway location.
Cost much higher in commercial areas
People unwilling to give up their property
Elevated structure to avoid property take (noise and
aesthetic + expensive)
acquisition & rehousing (social
Housing impact)

high cost of acquisition

Industry closure of industries
The need of balance transport system (fully integrated
system) between highways and public transport.
This integration should be taken into consideration during
the location process.
Examples: park and ride, bus lanes
Pedestrian and cyclist are an integral part of any
highway system but are more important in urban areas
Special attention for pedestrians and cyclist facilities in

Peds. Crosswalks
Traffic control devices, dropped curb
Peds. Grade separated
subways, bridges (ramps for handicaps)
Special lane required
Visual impact
Elevated roads make biggest impact.
Scale of road needs to be right relative to adjacent development.
Try to plan roads & development at the same time.

Traffic noise: possible solutions

locate away from buildings difficult
tunnel costly
barrier between road & building
The highway location should determine the bridge
location area (not the reverse).
In some cases (detailed examination of the sites):
Skewed bridges (more expensive to construct)
Unsuitable soil conditions (foundation problems)

Bridges considerations
Minimise span length
Position & width of river channel
Very important initial step
Involve measuring horizontal and vertical angles, vertical
heights (elevations), and horizontal distances
This used to prepare base maps with contour lines and
After the rapid development of electronic equipment
and computers, their have been improvement in the
highway surveying techniques.
Surveying techniques can be grouped into three
Ground surveys
Remote sensing Computerized
Computer graphics techniques

The selection of a specific technique depends on

topography and the size of the project
Ground surveys are the basic survey technique to
determine highway location, which include:
Electronic theodolite, Electronic distance measuring
device (EDM) and theodolite
Measure vertical and horizontal angles, distances, and changes in
elevations from the instrument to other point
Angles and distances can be used
to determine coordinates and elevations
Measuring tapes
Horizontal measurement directly
Digital survey advancements
Survey data collectors (i.e. GPS unit)
Measuring distances and elevations by using
devices above the earth (such as airplanes)
Aerial photography (photogrammetry)
Square format
Overlap of the direction of the flight
For large project fast and cheep, while very expensive
for small projects.

The successful use of the method depends on

Not suitable for areas of thick forest (cover ground surface)
Not suitable for areas contain deep canyon or tall buildings
(might conceal ground surface in photos)
It is the combination of aerial photogrammetry and
computer techniques.
Easy to change design

GIS, Google Earth

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