Roads are an integral part of our lives today. Transportation via roads is the most widely used sort of transportation available. Roads are used for transporting goods, traveling to work, going to school, visiting different places etc. Roads are an essential part of our communication system that we simply can’t do without.Most of us have never thought of what goes on behind the scenes to build these important networks that we use everyday. We will talk about in brief on how civil engineering companies go about building roads, what machines they use and what people are mainly involved.
Road construction is an expensive and tedious job. The government authorities float most of the road construction activities and tenders. Large-scale construction companies are invited to bid for such tenders. The tenders are given out based on a variety of criteria. Pre-qualification being the first criteria outlines the basic requirements and mainly covers past experience in similar jobs, financial turnover, financial stability etc. Once the prequalification has been passed then the commercial bid comes next. Here the civil engineering companies fill out their rates for the said tender and usually the contract is awarded to the company with the lowest bid.
Once the tender is awarded the company mobilizes its resources and proceed towards the development stage of the road. There are different types of roads that we use today. For example water bound macadam, dense bituminous macadam, concrete roads etc. All these roads have a different procedure for construction and have different lifecycles and effects.
Water bound macadam roads were invented by John Loudon McAdamaround 1820. This Scotsman came up with simple but revolutionary theory wherein he said large stone foundations were unnecessary and that layers of road crust over simple soil was enough. He propagated a simple theory that if the road crust could protect the underlying soil from water it would be enough to withhold. His ingenious use of the stone aggregate size further increased the lifecycle of the roads.
With the coming of cars, a problem arose with the water bound macadam roads. As the cars would pass over the road they would swivel up dust clouds. This led to the formation of tar bound macadam. Here a simple layer of tar was sprayed on the roads surface to bind and hold the underlying materials in place and prevent the spewing up of dust. Later on a mixture of coal tar and iron works slag was developed by Edgar Purnell Hooley, which today is widely known as tarmac.
Furthermore advancement in machinery has also led to better quality roads being built more efficiently and faster. The widespread uses of road rollers and compactors have helped greatly reduce time and increase the quality of the road surfaces. They have also led to consistency in build quality and the reduced need for manpower.
Road construction in India has a bright future and will continue for many years to come. As developed nations expand and infrastructure requirements keep growing, the need for quality roads and highways grows along. The need to connect cities and remote access areas, and to handle high traffic from transportation of goods and passenger vehicles further strengthens demand for quality roads. With large-scale companies such as IRB Infrastructure with Virendra D Mhaiskar as Chairman and MD geared up for road contracts with the right equipment and manpower the road construction industry in India is poised for solid growth for years to come.