Dear Readers, Welcome to Highway Engineering Interview Questions have been designed specially to get you acquainted with the nature of questions you may encounter during your Job interview for the subject of Highway Engineering. These Highway Engineering Questions are very important for campus placement test and job interviews. As per my experience good interviewers hardly plan to ask any particular questions during your Job interview and these model questions are asked in the online technical test and interview of many IT companies.
Highway engineering is an engineering discipline branching from civil engineering that involves the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of roads, bridges, and tunnels to ensure safe and effective transportation of people and goods.
History of highway engineering : The history of highway enginnering gives us an idea about the roads of ancient times. Roads in Rome were constructed in a large scale and it radiated in many directions helping them in military operations. Thus they are considered to be pioneers in road construction. In this section we will see in detail about Ancient roads, Roman roads, British roads, French roads etc.
Ancient Roads : The first mode of transport was by foot. These human pathways would have been developed for specific purposes leading to camp sites, food, streams for drinking water etc. The next major mode of transport was the use of animals for transporting both men and materials. Since these loaded animals required more horizontal and vertical clearances than the walking man, track ways emerged. The invention of wheel in Mesopotamian civilization led to the development of animal drawn vehicles. Then it became necessary that the road surface should be capable of carrying greater loads.
Thus roads with harder surfaces emerged. To provide adequate strength to carry the wheels, the new ways tended to follow the sunny drier side of a path. These have led to the development of foot-paths. After the invention of wheel, animal drawn vehicles were developed and the need for hard surface road emerged. Traces of such hard roads were obtained from various ancient civilization dated as old as 3500 BC. The earliest authentic record of road was found from Assyrian empire constructed about 1900 BC.
The earliest large scale road construction is attributed to Romans who constructed an extensive system of roads radiating in many directions from Rome. They were a remarkable achievement and provided travel times across Europe, Asia minor, and north Africa. Romans recognized that the fundamentals of good road construction were to provide good drainage, good material and good workmanship. Their roads were very durable, and some are still existing. Roman roads were always constructed on a firm - formed subgrade strengthened where necessary with wooden piles.
The roads were bordered on both sides by longitudinal drains. The next step was the construction of the agger. This was a raised formation up to a 1 meter high and 15 m wide and was constructed with materials excavated during the side drain construction. This was then topped with a sand leveling course. The agger contributed greatly to moisture control in the pavement. The pavement structure on the top of the agger varied greatly. In the case of heavy traffic, a surface course of large 250 mm thick hexagonal flag stones were provided. A typical cross section of roman road is given in Figure 1 The main features of the Roman roads are that they were built straight regardless of gradient and used heavy foundation stones at the bottom. They mixed lime and volcanic puzzolana to make mortar and they added gravel to this mortar to make concrete. Thus concrete was a major Roman road making innovation.
The next major development in the road construction occurred during the regime of Napoleon. The significant contributions were given by Tresaguet in 1764 and a typical cross section of this road is given in Figure 1. He developed a cheaper method of construction than the lavish and locally unsuccessful revival of Roman practice.
The pavement used 200 mm pieces of quarried stone of a more compact form and shaped such that they had at least one flat side which was placed on a compact formation. Smaller pieces of broken stones were then compacted into the spaces between larger stones to provide a level surface. Finally the running layer was made with a layer of 25 mm sized broken stone. All this structure was placed in a trench in order to keep the running surface level with the surrounding country side.
This created major drainage problems which were counteracted by making the surface as impervious as possible, cambering the surface and providing deep side ditches. He gave much importance for drainage. He also enunciated the necessity for continuous organized maintenance, instead of intermittent repairs if the roads were to be kept usable all times. For this he divided the roads between villages into sections of such length that an entire road could be covered by maintenance men living nearby.
The British government also gave importance to road construction. The British engineer John Macadam introduced what can be considered as the first scientific road construction method. Stone size was an important element of Macadam recipe. By empirical observation of many roads,he came to realize that 250 mm layers of well compacted broken angular stone would provide the same strength and stiffness and a better running surface than an expensive pavement founded on large stone blocks. Thus he introduced an economical method of road construction.
The mechanical interlock between the individual stone pieces provided strength and stiffness to the course. But the inter particle friction abraded the sharp interlocking faces and partly destroy the effectiveness of the course. This effect was overcome by introducing good quality interstitial finer material to produce a well-graded mix. Such mixes also proved less permeable and easier to compact.
The modern roads by and large follow Macadam's construction method. Use of bituminous concrete and cement concrete are the most important developments. Various advanced and cost-effective construction technologies are used. Development of new equipments help in the faster construction of roads. Many easily and locally available materials are tested in the laboratories and then implemented on roads for making economical and durable pavements.
Scope of transportation system has developed very largely. Population of the country is increasing day by day. The life style of people began to change. The need for travel to various places at faster speeds also increased. This increasing demand led to the emergence of other modes of transportation like railways and travel by air. While the above development in public transport sector was taking place,the development in private transport was at a much faster rate mainly because of its advantages like accessibility, privacy, flexibility, convenience and comfort.
This led to the increase in vehicular traffic especially in private transport network. Thus road space available was becoming insufficient to meet the growing demand of traffic and congestion started. In addition, chances for accidents also increased. This has led to the increased attention towards control of vehicles so that the transport infrastructure was optimally used. Various control measures like traffic signals, providing roundabouts and medians, limiting the speed of vehicle at specific zones etc. were implemented.
With the advancement of better roads and efficient control, more and more investments were made in the road sector especially after the World wars. These were large projects requiring large investment. For optimal utilization of funds, one should know the travel pattern and travel behavior. This has led to the emergence of transportation planning and demand management.
Highway planning in India : Excavations in the sites of Indus valley, Mohenjo-dero and Harappan civilizations revealed the existence of planned roads in India as old as 2500-3500 BC. The Mauryan kings also built very good roads. Ancient books like Arthashastra written by Kautilya, a great administrator of the Mauryan times, contained rules for regulating traffic, depths of roads for various purposes, and punishments for obstructing traffic.
During the time of Mughal period, roads in India were greatly improved. Roads linking North-West and the Eastern areas through gangetic plains were built during this time.
After the fall of the Mughals and at the beginning of British rule, many existing roads were improved. The construction of Grand-Trunk road connecting North and South is a major contribution of the British. However, the focus was later shifted to railways, except for feeder roads to important stations.
The first World war period and that immediately following it found a rapid growth in motor transport. So need for better roads became a necessity. For that, the Government of India appointed a committee called Road development Committee with Mr.M.R. Jayakar as the chairman. This committee came to be known as Jayakar committee.
Jayakar Committee : In 1927 Jayakar committee for Indian road development was appointed. The major recommendations and the resulting implementations were:
Committee found that the road development of the country has become beyond the capacity of local governments and suggested that Central government should take the proper charge considering it as a matter of national interest.
They gave more stress on long term planning programme, for a period of 20 years (hence called twenty year plan) that is to formulate plans and implement those plans with in the next 20 years.
One of the recommendations was the holding of periodic road conferences to discuss about road construction and development. This paved the way for the establishment of a semi-official technical body called Indian Road Congress (IRC) in 1934
The committee suggested imposition of additional taxation on motor transport which includes duty on motor spirit, vehicle taxation, license fees for vehicles plying for hire. This led to the introduction of a development fund called Central road fund in 1929. This fund was intended for road development.
A dedicated research organization should be constituted to carry out research and development work. This resulted in the formation of Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) in 1950.
Nagpur road congress 1943 : The second World War saw a rapid growth in road traffic and this led to the deterioration in the condition of roads. To discuss about improving the condition of roads, the government convened a conference of chief engineers of provinces at Nagpur in 1943. The result of the conference is famous as the Nagpur plan.
A twenty year development programme for the period (1943-1963) was finalized. It was the first attempt to prepare a co-ordinated road development programme in a planned manner.
The roads were divided into four classes:
National highways which would pass through states, and places having national importance for strategic, administrative and other purposes.
State highways which would be the other main roads of a state.
District roads which would take traffic from the main roads to the interior of the district . According to the importance, some are considered as major district roads and the remaining as other district roads.
Village roads which would link the villages to the road system.
The committee planned to construct 2 lakh kms of road across the country within 20 years.
They recommended the construction of star and grid pattern of roads throughout the country.
One of the objective was that the road length should be increased so as to give a road density of 16kms per 100 sq.km.
The length of roads envisaged under the Nagpur plan was achieved by the end of it, but the road system was deficient in many respects. The changed economic, industrial and agricultural conditions in the country warranted a review of the Nagpur plan. Accordingly a 20-year plan was drafted by the Roads wing of Government of India, which is popularly known as the Bombay plan.
The highlights of the plan were:
It was the second 20 year road plan (1961-1981)
The total road length targeted to construct was about 10 lakhs.
Rural roads were given specific attention. Scientific methods of construction was proposed for the rural roads. The necessary technical advice to the Panchayaths should be given by State PWD's.
They suggested that the length of the road should be increased so as to give a road density of 32kms/100 sq.km
The construction of 1600 km of expressways was also then included in the plan.
Lucknow road congress 1984 : This plan has been prepared keeping in view the growth pattern envisaged in various fields by the turn of the century.
Some of the salient features of this plan are as given below:
This was the third 20 year road plan (1981-2001). It is also called Lucknow road plan.
It aimed at constructing a road length of 12 lakh kilometres by the year 1981 resulting in a road density of 82kms/100 sq.km
The plan has set the target length of NH to be completed by the end of seventh, eighth and ninth five year plan periods.
It aims at improving the transportation facilities in villages, towns etc. such that no part of country is farther than 50 km from NH.
One of the goals contained in the plan was that expressways should be constructed on major traffic corridors to provide speedy travel.
Energy conservation, environmental quality of roads and road safety measures were also given due importance in this plan.
13. What Is The Sequence Of Four Stages Of Survey In A Highway Alignment?
14. What Is The Effect Of Grade On Safe Overtaking Sight Distance?
To increase it on both descending and ascending grades.