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Traffic Engineering


Assignment 2

BEng Civil Engineering (PT) Year 3


Highway & Traffic Engineering


CIVE 2109


Dr J. Rana

DATE OF SUBMISSION: 26 September 2013

Submitted by:
PARMESSUR Ashvin ID: 1140263
NASEEVEN B. Allia ID: 1118803
UJOODHA Yashveer ID: 1110917

BEng Civil Engineering Part Time - Year 3

Question 1
Elaborate on the main criteria to consider when appraising a Highway Project.
Prior to commencement of a highway project, several important criteria shall be considered and
they are as follows:

1. Carry out a desktop study

From the desktop study we gather previous information from:

All records that already exist, for example, topographical, geological, geotechnical.

All plans that are available, for example, existing building, existing services like aerial
CEB cable, CWA piping network or telecom networks.

Obstacles prevent, for example, mountains, rivers.

All maps that is available in archives.

2. In case we do not obtain sufficient information from a desktop study, we need to have the

Aerial photography

Indication of feeling of terrain itself, that is, rivers, hill, mountains etc.

Making a preliminary alignment on photo.

Make a site reconnaissance.

Using of GPS to obtain exact location and to document a lot of information as


3. Topographical survey

Prior to a survey, a risk assessment must be performed by the health and safety
officer in order to assess the risk that the surveyor is exposed during the survey
for insurance purposes and also to know which protective equipment are to be

Team of surveyors to perform topographical survey.

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4. Geological and geotechnical survey
Geological survey performed by geological engineer

The geological engineer employs the scientific method which essentially requires
first, the observation and classification of physical conditions, second, the
formation of a hypothesis to explain those conditions and third, experimentation
to demonstrate through repeated results, whether the hypothesis is valid.

Geotechnical survey performed by geological engineer

The geotechnical engineer is a civil engineer specializing in the determination of

the mechanical characteristics the earth materials.

5. Botanical survey ( Fauna and flora survey)

Normally this process is carried out by the forestry department in order to identify any
endemic plant along the proposed alignment of the highway.

6. Engineering Survey
This task is performed by the civil engineer who works in detail on alignment, cut and fill
ratio and curvatures.

7. Type of highway
Which type of traffic will use the highway? Whether it will be a dual carriageway or
single highway.

8. EIA report
Normally in Mauritius a highway project will be a government project. Therefore, it is
exempted from and EIA report.

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BEng Civil Engineering Part Time - Year 3

9. Cost benefit analysis

Cost benefit analysis must be done to justify the cost.

Finding a different feasible option and it is important to note that if the funding
authorities find the project too expensive, the project might be differed.

Finally, decision makers (funding) will decide which alternative to choose despite
technicians will recommend the best alternatives though it is very expensive.

10. Stakeholders meeting

Impacts on social and economic are the regions that will be served on the highway to
have the feeling of the population residing along the proposed alignment, whether the
residents are agreeable or they protest).

11. Design of highway

At this stage the design of pavement, furniture and fittings, drains and signage are being
done by the civil engineer.

12. Preparation of tender documents

It comprises of the BOQ, specifications, conditions of contract and drawings.

13. Floating of tenders

14. Evaluation
15. Award of contract to successful bidder.

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BEng Civil Engineering Part Time - Year 3

Question 2
Explain the terms

Generated Traffic

Generated traffic is the supplementary travel when road capacity rises; the number of peak
period trips also intensifies until jamming again limits further traffic growth. Generated traffic
involves of diverted traffic (trips shifted in time, route and destination) and induced vehicle
travel (shifts from other mode, longer trips and new vehicle trips).
Generated traffic has 3 implications for transport planning:
1. It reduces the congestion reduction benefits of road capacity expansion.
2. It increases many external costs.
3. It provides relatively small user benefits because it consists of vehicles travel that
consumers are most willing to forego with their cost increase.

Figure 1: Traffic lanes & Volume against Time

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Normal Traffic

It is the traffic that occurs without the construction of a new road or the improvement of an
existing one. It also includes the normal traffic growth. Normal traffic growth can be evaluated
by the extrapolation of the time series data of the traffic volume count on existing similar roads.

Directed Traffic

It is the traffic that occurs whenever there is a construction of a new road or improvement of an
existing one. In such cases, traffic is diverted to an alternate route which bypasses the project
area by following suitable traffic signs.
In the case for improvement of a road, the diverted traffic can be forecasted using the existing
traffic on the road itself.

Figure 2: Diversion of road sign

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BEng Civil Engineering Part Time - Year 3

Question 3
Subsurface investigations

Define the term subsurface investigation.

Subsurface investigation is the planning, execution, and interpretation of geotechnical site

explorations in natural soil and rock are presented with regard to the design and construction of
transportation facilities.

What are the factors determining the type and extent of subsurface investigations?

1) Soil type and rock type (Geological history)

2) Project Design requirement
3) Location of the site.
4) Existing Subsurface information-Based on existing data that may be obtained from
previous projects done in the vicinity of the site and site reconnaissance.
5) Availability of equipment
6) Local practice
7) The geotechnical engineer must visually examine a number of samples from the site
in order to have a feel of the material properties as a tool for determining the
adequacy of the investigative program. By doing so, the geotechnical engineer may
define the general stratigraphy subsurface material at the site.
8) Laboratory testing and boring logs can be performed to obtain extensive results about
the soil and rock characteristic, ground water conditions and over existing features to
the importance of design foundation features.

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BEng Civil Engineering Part Time - Year 3

Elaborate on 4 subsurface investigation methods.

1. Remote sensing

This is done to identify terrain conditions, geologic formation, site access conditions and general
soil and rock formations. Remote sensing data are obtained from satellites, aerial photographs,
and commercial aerial mapping service organizations.

2. Geophysical techniques
The commonly used geophysical tests are surface resistivity (SR), ground penetrating radar
(GPR) and electromagnetic conductivity (EM) which is effective in establishing ground
stratigraphy, detecting sudden changes in subsurface formations, locating underground cavities
in karst formations, or identifying underground utilities and/or obstructions. Mechanical waves
include the compression (P-wave) and shear (S-wave) wave types that are measured by the
methods of seismic refraction, cross hole, and down hole seismic tests and these can provide
information on the dynamic elastic properties of the soil and rock for a variety of purposes.
Advantages of geophysical techniques are that they have high penetration rates, no cuttings (only
pure sonic), cross contamination is minimized and high quality cores possible.

3. Disturbed sampling

Disturbed samples are usually taken in order to determine the soil type, gradation, classification,
consistency, density, presence of contaminants and stratification.
The methods for obtaining disturbed samples vary from hand excavating of materials with picks
and shovels to using truck mounted augers and other rotary drilling techniques. These samples
are termed as disturbed because during the sampling processes, their natural form and structure
are altered and modified.

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BEng Civil Engineering Part Time - Year 3

4. Undisturbed sampling

Undisturbed samples are used to determine the in place strength, compressibility (settlement),
natural moisture content, unit weight, permeability, discontinuities, fractures and fissures of
subsurface formations.
Even though such samples are termed as undisturbed, in reality they are disturbed to varying
degrees. The degree of disturbance depends on various factors, such as, the type of subsurface
materials, types and condition of the sampling equipment that are used, skill of drillers and the
storage and transportation methods that are being used.

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Question 4
Elaborate on the relationship between the cost of pavement (flexible and rigid) and
their design life.
All hard surfaced pavement types can be categorized into two groups:
1. Flexible
2. Rigid

Flexible pavements are those which are surfaced with bituminous (or asphalt) materials.
Because of the tendency of the whole pavement structure to bend or deflect due to traffic loads, it
is called flexible pavement. A flexible pavement structure consists of several layers of materials
which can support this flexing. It reflects the deformation of subgrade and the subsequent
layers to the surface. It does not require any reinforcement.
Flexible pavements have a low completion cost but high maintenance cost.

This type of

pavements can be used within 24 hours of completion of work as compared to rigid pavement
which cannot be used until 14 days of curing.

Figure 3: Typical section of a Flexible Pavement

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Rigid pavements are composed of a Polymer-Cement Composites (PCC) surface course. Such
pavements are significantly more firm and rigid than flexible pavements due to high modulus of
elasticity of the PCC materials. It is laid in concrete slabs with steel reinforcements, which are,
in general, used to reduce or eliminate joints.
It has a higher durability than flexible pavements and has a high efficiency in terms of
functionality. Its initial cost is high but has a lower maintenance cost.

Figure 4: Typical section of a Rigid Pavement (Reinforcement not shown in concrete)

Each of these pavement types distribute load over the subgrade in different ways.


pavement, because of the high elastic modulus (stiffness) of the PCC, tends to distribute the load
over quite a large area of subgrade. The concrete slab itself mostly contributes to the structural
capacity of a rigid pavement. On the other hand flexible pavement uses more flexible surface
course and the load is distributed over a relatively smaller area. It depends on a combination of
layers for transmitting load to the subgrade.

Figure 5: Rigid & Flexible pavement with load distribution to subgrade

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BEng Civil Engineering Part Time - Year 3

Question 5
Explain the following terms:

Weight of vehicle
Weight of a vehicle can be classified into two categories such as the tare weight and the
gross weight.
1. Tare weight
It is the weight of the vehicle when it is not carrying any passenger, goods or any other

Figure 6: Tare Weight (empty vehicle)

2. Gross weight
It is the total weight designed by the manufacturer of the vehicle which includes the
self-weight of the vehicle, the weight of passenger and the goods or any other items, to
ensure the safety of both the transport and the traveller.

Figure 7: Gross Weight (Vehicle Loaded)

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Height of vehicle
It is the vertical dimension in meters taking from road levels to end points (finish of cabin
for truck or ceiling for cars), when its tyres are suitably inflated.

Figure 8: Height of vehicles

Vehicle loads
It is the maximum weight that the vehicle can carry which are passenger loads, goods or
any other item loads, which is taken into consideration when designing highways. This is
due to the fact that the loads will be transmitted to the pavement through the wheels.

Kerb management
It is a guideline that assists road controlling authorities in choosing the most appropriate
kerb line protection from a number of preferred alternatives. This is done in order to
provide the safest possible road environment and also consider the safety of all road users
when selecting types and installing kerb. In other words, different types of kerbs have
their functions for different suitable places. So kerb management can be described as the
selection of kerbs for their correct place.

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BEng Civil Engineering Part Time - Year 3

Figure 9: Different types of kerbs

Figure 10: Typical section of a pavement (showing precast concrete kerb)

It is the vertical and horizontal location of a road.

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Lane width
It is the width of a single road lane and where line markings exist, it is the distance
between the centers of adjoining lane lines.

Figure 11: Lane Width

It is the percentage of vertical or longitudinal slope.

Figure 12: Gradient of slope (usually expressed in percentage)

A shoulder is that surfaced clear portion of the roadway cross-section immediately
adjacent to the carriageway edge. Shoulders are used as a retreat for vehicles forced to
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make emergency stops, a recovery space for vehicles that inadvertently leave the
carriageway, or deliberately do so during emergency evasive manoeuvres; temporary
extra traffic lanes during road maintenance or carriageway reconstruction; assistance in
achieving desired horizontal sight distances; and structural support to the road pavement
(usually by extending all or part of the road base through the shoulder width).

Figure 13: Shoulder

Axle load

The axle load of a wheeled vehicle is the total weight impact on the road by all wheels
connected to a given axle. It can also be described as the fraction of total load of vehicle
weight resting on the axle. Axle load is very important parameters in the design of roadways
as well as railways, as both are designed to sustain a maximum weight per axle (axle load).
While exceeding the maximum rated axle load, this will cause damages to the roadway or rail

Figure 14: Axle load

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Jim McDonnell, P.E., AASHTO, Staff Liaison., 2004. American Association of State Highway
and Transportation Officials. 5th ed. Washington: United States of America

THAGESEN, B., 1996. Highway And Traffic Engineering In Developing Countries. 1st ed.
Oxford: Great Britain.

Transportation [online]. Seattle, The King County. Available from: [Accessed 18 September 2013]

Expanding Metropolitan Highways, Special Report 245, National Academy Press (Washington,
D.C.), 1995.

Victoria transport policy institute [online], Available from: [Accessed 16 September 2013]

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