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Highway practice questions

TUTORIAL 1 – Sight Distances

1. Explain the factors which need to be considered when planning the route for a new highway.

2. GD 15 specifies a design vehicle P to represent passenger cars on Brunei roads. It has the approximate
dimensions given below:

Discuss what you can observe when comparing the main dimensions above with typical cars found in

3. A new two-lane highway has been proposed to connect two towns.

a. What type of sight distance must be provided along the entire length of the highway?
b. How would you ensure this?
c. What type of sight distance should be provided on as much of the highway length as possible?
d. How would you select an appropriate design speed for this new road?

4. Stopping sight distance consists of two main components. In your own words, describe briefly what
they are.

5. Assuming that a car driver takes 1 second to identify a stray animal in his path, another 1.5 seconds to
begin applying the brakes, and a deceleration rate of 3.4 m/s2 during braking, what is the distance
required for him to stop if his speed is 120 km/h?

6. The stopping sight distance for a level section of road with a 100 km/h design speed is 185 m according
to AASHTO (2001). What is the corresponding stopping sight distance if the road is on:
a. An upgrade of 6%
b. A 5% downgrade?

7. Passing sight distance consists of several components. Explain what they are, using sketches, if needed.

8. What are the functions of the following elements of a highway cross-section?

a. Median
b. Shoulders
c. Barriers
9. Explain the need for widening the carriageway at a sharp horizontal curve.

10. What are the differences between cross fall and superelevation?
TUTORIAL 2 – Horizontal Alignment

1. A horizontal circular curve of radius 400 m is to be fitted between two straight tangents for which the
external angle of intersection is 30°. The intersection point of the two tangents is at chainage 800 m.
The spiral transition curves which precede and follow the circular curve are to be designed to give a
rate of change of centrifugal acceleration of 0.3 m/s3, and the highway design speed is 70 km/hr.
Ignoring any consideration regarding the introduction of super elevation, determine the chainages of
the tangent spiral intersection point (at the start of the entry curve) and the spiral – circular curve
intersection point (the end of the entry transition curve).

2. Give three function of transition curves in a horizontal alignment.

3. A loop will be built to a design speed of 60 km/h. If the allowable super elevation ranges from 2.5% to
10.0% while the side friction factor is limited to 0.15, what is the minimum radius of the loop?

4. If side friction factor fS is limited to 0.15, what is the minimum super elevation rate required for a
circular curve of 300 m radius with a design speed of 90 km/h?

5. Assuming the superelevation rate is your calculated value (in question 4), what is the side friction factor
fS experienced by a car traveling at 43 km/h on the circular curve? What does this tell you about the
lateral forces acting on the car?

6. A fence is to be built near an existing two-lane road which is 7.3 m wide (excluding shoulders). The
horizontal alignment here is a 200 m long circular curve of radius 340 m. How far should the fence be
from the centreline of the road to ensure that sight distances are not reduced below 185 m?

7. Describe a way in which sight distance requirements constrain the horizontal alignment design of a
proposed new road.

8. A new highway is to be built into three sections being designed as rather tight arcs of circular curves
with radii of 305 m, 370 m and 425 m. If the design speed is 100 km/hr, the maximum value of the
lateral coefficient of friction that can be assumed is 0.15 and the maximum elevation is to be 7%,
evaluate whether the three circular arcs have been designed with large enough radii.

9. A transition curve joins a tangent (with crowned section) to a superelevated 300 m radius circular
curve, at a design speed of 80 km/h. What is the length and shift of the transition curve, assuming a
0.3 m/s3 rate of increase of radial acceleration?

10. Describe with the help of sketches how superelevation is developed in a transition from tangent (with
crown) to a superelevated curve for a single carriageway.

1. Describe briefly how vertical alignment design affects the construction cost of a new highway.

2. Loaded trucks with a high weight-to-power ratio show considerable when climbing a long upgrade
section, thus posing a safety hazard to other vehicles. Describe how this problem is accounted for
during vertical alignment design.

3. What is the minimum length of curve which joins a -1% grade to a -5% grade, if the design speed is 80
km/h; stopping sight distance is 140 m, driver eye height of 1 m, and object height of 0.15 m? [L =

4. Describe two ways in which sight distance requirements constrain the vertical alignment design of a
proposed new road.

5. Calculate the minimum length of vertical curve joining a 5% upgrade and a 3% downgrade, which
provides a minimum stopping sight distance of 85 m. Assume that the driver’s eye height is 1.0 m and
the object height is 0.15 m. [L = 150m]

6. Assuming driver’s eye height of 0.92 m, object height of 0.15 m and stopping sight distance of 65 m,
calculate the minimum length of vertical curve joining a +5% gradient to a +1% gradient. [L = 29.35m]

7. Calculate the minimum length of curve which connects a -5% gradient and a +4% gradient for each of
the following, assuming a design speed of 120 km/h and stopping sight distance of 250 m:
a. If the headlight of the design vehicle is 0.6 m above the ground, with an upward angle of 1°. [L =
b. If there is an overhead footbridge present, where the vertical clearance between its soffit to the
pavement surface is 4.5 m, driver eye height is 2.0 m and object height is 0.6 m. [L =216m]
c. If the curve must satisfy limits for comfort (i.e. vertical acceleration < 0.3 m/s2). [L = 328m]
d. If the curve satisfies all the above conditions.

8. Calculate the minimum length of a curve which connects a -5% grade to a +5% grade, and satisfies the
 Design speed of 80 km/h and stopping sight distance of 130 m.
 Design vehicle headlights are 0.6 m above the ground, with an upward angle of 1°.
 Maximum vertical acceleration of 0.3 m/s2. [L = 224.57m]

9. To ensure safe stopping sight distance on the crest curve in Question 5 above, what is the absolute
minimum length of the curve calculated using K factors in Table 7-3 of GD 15, if the design speed is 80
km/h and the driver eye height and object heights are 0.92 and 0.15 m respectively? [L = 200m]

10. Using the same method as in Question 9, how does your answer above compare to the required crest
curve length to achieve overtaking sight distance? Discuss how this might affect the construction cost
of the vertical alignment. [L = 2562m]