low cost road l earthen road

Earthen Road | 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 may be improved in the future for an increase in traffic volume. This type of road is generally found in village areas. It is a type of Low-Cost Road.


Types of Earthen Road


a)Ordinary Earthen  Road

The earthen road whose foundation and the wearing surface consists of one or two compacted layers of natural soil available along its alignment is called an ordinary earthen road. It is the lowest form of pavement surface used so far and is considered as the first stage in the development of road pavement construction. The surface of such a type of road is generally dusty and ruts are quickly formed. These type of road requires frequent maintenance to make them serviceable.


b)Stabilized Earthen Road

The road whose foundation and the wearing surface is constructed from one or two compacted layers of stabilized soil ( Stabilized with physical, chemical or biological agents to increase strength and durability)  is called Stabilized Earthen Road. It can carry greater traffic, load and provide better service as compared to ordinary earthen roads.


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%.


Tools and Equipment Used



It is used to dig or to break soil lumps.


It is used for digging, lifting, and moving of 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 purpose ( i.e. used in cutting and filling works).


It is used for compacting the road surface.


Construction Procedure of Earthen Road

The construction procedure includes the following steps:

1) 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.



The centerline of road and road edges are marked with the help of wooden peg. The location and alignment of the road should be 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 to construct.


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 the 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.


Advantages of Earthen Road

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

2) Earthen materials are easily available.

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


Disadvantages of Earthen Road

1)Greater maintenance cost as compared to the other types of road.

2)Earthen roads are closed for vehicle movement during the period of monsoon.



Read More: Low-Cost Road

Read More: How to Patch Road?



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