low cost road/ earthen road / earth road / village road

2 Types of Earthen Road : Construction, Advantages & Disadvantages


The type of low-cost road in which pavement structure is constructed with the soil available at the site is called Earthen Road.

It is also known as Earth Road.

It is advantageous if we have to construct the road with the limited fund.

It can be improved if required in the future. 

This type of road is generally constructed in the village or rural areas.

Earthen road is the lowest form of pavement surface used and is considered the first stage in the development of road pavement construction.

This type of road requires frequent maintenance to make them serviceable i.e. mainly after the monsoon.




  1. Types of Earthen Road  


a. Ordinary Earthen  Road

The earthen road whose foundation and the wearing surface consist of one or more compacted layers of natural soil available along its alignment is an ordinary earthen road.

The surface of such a type of road is generally dusty and ruts are formed quickly.


b. Stabilized Earthen Road

The road whose foundation and the wearing surface are constructed from one or more compacted layers of stabilized soil ( Stabilized with physical, chemical, or biological agents to increase strength and durability)  is Stabilized Earthen Road.

It can carry greater traffic, load and also provides better service as compared to ordinary earthen roads.



  2. Materials Required For Construction  

The material required for the earthen road is well-graded soil with a liquid limit of less than 35% and a plasticity index of 4-10%.


Read Also: Liquid Limit Test; 2 Methods



  3. Tools and Equipment Used  


1. Spade

It is used to dig or to break soil lumps.


2. Shovel
It is used for digging, lifting, and moving materials like soil, gravel, etc.


3. Wheel Barrow
It is used to transport materials from one point of the site to another desired point.


4. Dozer
It is used for excavation purposes ( i.e. used in cutting and filling works).


5. Roller
It is used for compacting the road surface.



  4. Construction Procedure  

The construction procedure includes the following steps:


low cost road/ earthen road / earth road / village road


a. Locating Alignment

The centerline of the road and road edges are marked with the help of a wooden peg. The alignment of the road is selected such that:

It is short in length.

It is easy to construct.

It is safe for users ( Free from rockfalls & landslides ).

It is economical.

Read Also: Road Alignment, Its principle, factors controlling and process


b. Soil Survey & Preparation of Sub-grades

A soil survey is carried out to determine the stability and approximate load-bearing capacity of the soil. The higher load-bearing capacity of soil leads to the higher strength of the road.

The level of compaction and the number of soil layers required for the preparation of subgrade depend upon the bearing capacity of the soil.

Preparation of subgrade includes the following steps:-

Clearing the alignment: It is required to clear the road site from grasses and vegetal covers.

Excavation or filling up to the desired grade.

Shaping the sub-grade.

Compacting the sub-grade. Based on the nature of the soil, additional layers of soil may be required


c. Pavement Construction

The borrowed soil is dumped on the prepared sub-grade and is spread so that desired cross slope (i.e camber) is achieved and final compaction is done at OMC (Optimum Moisture Content) to get the required grade of compaction.

Compaction work is carried out with a slight application of water.


d. Opening to Traffic 

The compacted earthen road is allowed to dry for 1 to 3 days before opening to traffic.



  5. Advantages of Earthen Road  

1. It is the cheapest type of road and can be constructed on a very low budget.

2. Earthen materials are easily available.

3. Local people and materials are utilized during the construction.

4. Can be blacktopped easily whenever required.

5. Can be constructed in less time ( i.e. Fast Construction).



  6. Disadvantages of Earthen Road  

1. Requires frequent maintenance ( mainly after heavy rainfall).

2. Dusty in nature.

3. Can’t bear heavy loads.

4. Ruts are formed quickly.


Read Also: Types of Pavement Failure