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Roads are one of the modern infrastructures that have existed since the onset of human mobility. Liu & Liang (2008) define a road as a way on land linking two places, improved to allow movement of some transportation means such as horse, motor vehicle or cart. Liu and Lang (2008) further point out that the design of roads should comprise of one or more carriages and allied pavement or sidewalks. The most agreed purpose of roads according to Topp (1990), is to act as a communication line, or a way of travel that uses a stabilized foundation without rails or airstrips, open for public traffic. Prior to road construction, a civil engineer in the discipline of structural road design draws a plan of the road suitable for the environment to prolong permanence and cut maintenance (Sherwood, 2001). Road construction is a vital process that should be procedurally undertaken in accordance with the standards of civil engineering in order to guarantee the safety of people using the infrastructure. In light of this view, this paper demonstrates how roads are constructed, maintained, and the advantages and disadvantages of roads.
According to Liu & Liang (2008), road construction is a very sophisticated process that needs the creation of way, surmounting geographic barriers, and having status to allow for vehicle or foot travel. Law prerequisites are a fundamental factor to consider during road construction. The above conditions require knowledge and skills in the field of civil engineering in order to meet public expectations. Civil engineers can design and supervise road construction with regard to the laid guidelines (Byrne, 2010). The process takes off after design, approval, planning, legal, and eco-logical concerns have been met. Road construction process commences by removal of rock or earth matter by digging, blasting, or building of walls, bridges and tunnels. At some instances, it involves clearing of vegetation. The surveyor proceeds to align the road. Gradient and radii are considered to be appropriate with ground levels and reduce the amount of cut and fill. Other areas of concern during design are storm drainage and eco-logical concerns. To overcome these impediments, sediments, and erosion controls are constructed to avoid the devastating effects. Drainage systems are incorporated in the road easement with overspill coefficients. Sources of fill, gravel, rock, and water should be close to the road or at a sensible distance from the site of construction. Previous road surfaces and unwanted material are removed, and trees near the site are marked for preservation. The preparation stage is followed by earthworks, which includes excavation, elimination of necessary matter that can spoil filling, compacting, construction, and trimming (Hunter, 2000). Moisture content is controlled and reinstated with fill of relative 90% compaction. Rock blasting is discouraged, implying that, in situations where depression must be filled, the indigenous bed is compressed after elimination of the top soil. Fill matter should be organic free and meet California Bearing Ratio (Sherwood, 2001). Sand is the main composition of the lower fill to prevent growth of plants. The compressed fill acts as lower-stratum drainage. The sieved comprises of gravel, decomposed rocks under a stipulated particle size and exclude large clay lumps. Proof rolling is done after each stratum of fill is compressed. Paving proceeds the rolling, and the road is deemed usable. Hunter (2000) asserts that road construction should follow the procedures in order to guarantee durability of the roads and safety of the public using the infrastructure.
According to Topp (1990), roads need to be maintained to prolong their longevity. Similar to other structures, roads are not exceptional to deterioration. Factors that might lead to worsening of the road include vehicle damage, thermal cracking, frost heaves, and oxidation processes. Potholes are caused by vehicle breaking or construction works. Maintenance is a process that will continue to exist provided the road exists (Liu & Liang, 2008). Roads are premeditated for a period of time, beyond which damages take place. Maintenance is vital before the expiry period end of a road’s service life. Similarly, pavements are also maintained to increase their lifespan. Modern road maintenance integrates equipment, such as profilometer to scrutinize the condition of the road (Liu & Liang, 2008). The data acquired from profilometer is supplied to pavement management system that advocates for fresh building maintenance. Concrete roads face distress and loss in serviceability due to inadequate support resulting from emptiness below the concrete slabs (Hunter, 2000). The emptiness generates pumping, consolidation and sub grade, and bridge approach failure. In solving this problem, slab stabilization method is engaged. It refurbishes the support to slabs by filling the emptiness. Slab stabilization entails forcing polyurethane via holes made at the top. The Material dislodges water and thwarts it from flowing into cracks weakening the pavement. Slab stabilization only reinstates support and is usually done at joints. Different methods are used to locate voids, such as visual examination, deflection testing.
Road as a mode of transport has significant benefits. Roads improve a country’s economy by facilitating movement of goods and services from manufacturers to producers at a relatively cheaper price. This denotes the key role of roads as distribution in the production of goods and services by linking producers and consumers. It also provides employment opportunities in the transport sector; hence, providing a source of income that improves the economy. Roads link other forms of transport, such as water and air transport. This is of significant advantage since they depend on road transport (Byrne, 2010). Goods must travel by road before getting to an airport or port. On the other hand, the disadvantages also exist. The most common disadvantage is that they are prone to accidents; in the upshot, it has resulted in many deaths. The accidents are linked to poor roads and not abiding by traffic rules. Road transport pollutes the environment due to the smoke released by automotives (Hunter, 2000).
In conclusion, road construction comprises of procedural steps that begin with general groundwork, such as removal of rocks and flattening of the earth material. Different layers of material are compacted and rolled over until a tough slab that can withstand the weight of automotives is generated. There are laws and regulations that govern road construction processes. Road maintenance involves repairing the road to increase its lifespan. This is also similar to pavements. Visual scrutiny is a method used to locate voids below slabs. Slab stabilization is a technique used to solve the problem of void. Road transport is important in the modern economy since it links producers and consumers. The disadvantages include accidents and pollution.