low cost road/ earthen road / earth road

Earthen Road | 2 Types & Construction of Earthen Road | Advantages & Disadvantages

The earthen road is the cheapest type of road in which the pavement structure is constructed totally from the soil available at the site. It is also called the earth road.

It is advantageous if we have to construct the road at the limited fund and this road can be improved in the future for an increase in traffic volume.

This type of road is generally found in village areas.

Read Also: Low-Cost Road

It 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 monsoon).

low cost road/ earthen road / earth road


  1.1. Types of Earthen Road  


a)Ordinary Earthen  Road

The earthen road whose foundation and the wearing surface consists 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 carries greater traffic, load and also provides better service as compared to ordinary earthen roads.


  1.2. Materials Required  

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; Both Methods


  1.3. Tools and Equipment Used  


It is used to dig or to break soil lumps.


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.


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


It is used for compacting the road surface.


  1.4. Construction Procedure of Earthen Road  

The construction procedure includes the following steps:


1) 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:

a. It is short in length.

b. It is easy to construct.

c. It is safe for users.

d. It is economical.

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


2) Soil Survey

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.


3) Preparation of Sub-grades

It includes:-

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

b)Excavation or filling up to the desired grade.

c)Shaping the sub-grade.

d)Compacting the sub-grade.


4) Pavement Construction

The borrowed soil is dump 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(Operation, Maintenace & Construction) to get the required grade of compaction.

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


5) Opening to Traffic 

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


  1.5. 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).


  1.6. Disadvantages of Earthen Road  

1) Closed during the period of monsoon.

2) Dusty in nature.

3) Can’t bear heavy loads.

4) Ruts are formed quickly.


Read Also: Types of Pavement Failure



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