Roads and highways form a major component of the county’s investment in infrastructure. This has given rise to the need for efficient design capabilities and construction to help minimize various long-term lifecycle costs such as maintenance and operation, renewal and management of these significant physical assets that span the length and breadth of our country.
What is roadway engineering?
This is a branch of civil engineering that revolves around design and planning, construction and operation as well as the maintenance of highways, roads, tunnels and bridges to ensure the effective and safe transportation of people & goods.
The field of roadway engineering gained prominence towards the end of the 20th century; today, there are anumber oftechnologicaladvances thathelproadway engineersdesign roadway intersections/interchanges, taking into account future traffic flows, highway pavement materials &design, geometric alignment & design, pavement maintenance and structural design of the pavement thickness etc. There are a number of phases and functions included in roadway engineering:
1. Aspects of roadway engineering
A roadway engineering project includes aspects such as:
• Planning and development
• Environmental impact assessment
• Roadway safety
• Drainage systems
• Roadway assets
• Geometric design
• Rigid pavement design
• Flexible pavement design
• Drainage system design
• Flexible and rigid pavement overlay design
• Construction, maintenance, and management
2. Roadway planning and development
Aside from all the aspects mentioned above, roadway planning and engineering involves the estimation of present day and future traffic volume on the network of roads. A roadway engineer aims to predict and analyze the different civil impacts of highway systems. Some of these considerations include negative impacts on the environment such as air, water and noise pollution as well as a range of other ecological impacts.
The roadway engineering team follows 3 key steps for including these environmental considerations into roadway planning, construction, scheduling as well as maintenance of roadways. This particular process is referred to as the EIA or the Environmental Impact Assessment, because it very systematically deals with elements such as:
• Subbase course construction
• Surface course construction
• Base course construction
• Portland cement concrete (PCC)
• Hot-mix asphalt (HMA) layers
• Roadway maintenance
• Project management
• Identification of the entire range of possible impacts on the socio-economic environment andthe natural environment
• Evaluation as well as quantification of these impacts
• Formulating measures to mitigate, avoid and compensate for these projected impacts
3. Roadway Safety
Roadways and highways are the cause of a large number of human injuries and deaths each year. This makes roadway safety a very important component of any roadway engineering project.The management of safety aims to reduce the severity as well as the occurrence of a traffic accident.
The key to increasing the safety of roadway systems is to design, construct and maintain roads to be much more tolerant of the man/machine interaction factor. Today, there are is significant technological advancement in roadway engineering and this has brought about a very positive change in design methodologies, construction processes and the maintenance methods utilized over decades. These advancements have also changed the way the concept of roadway safety is approached in roadway engineering projects.
What is a roadway engineer?
A roadway engineer is a technical specialist with road engineering skills. This professional may work with state and local governments, private mining & civil companies and consulting, contracting and regulatory organizations.They work on a range of road projects, including bicycle & pedestrian pathways, dual-lane highways, city and residential streets as well as tunnels and bridges. They have experience in every phase of road design and engineering, from conceptualization to the operational and roadway maintenance phases. An experienced roadway engineer will also handle the EIA as well as project management aspects during the construction phase.
Roadway engineers ensure that all the safety related opportunities and situations are considered, identified and implemented as required. These can be revisited and assessed at every stage of roadway design and planning, construction, operation and maintenance, to improve the safety of the roadway systems.
Duties that a municipal engineer performs
Depending on what the project is, a roadway engineer could be involved in various projects such as design, planning, construction, management and maintenance of:
• Local roads
• Interstate highways
• State highways
• Traffic signals and intersections
• Active Transportation Corridors
• Trails and bike paths
• On-call public or municipal entity services
• Railroad tracks and crossings
Systems and tools that roadway engineers use
Today a wide spectrum of tools and applications are used to address complex road design engineering, environmental engineering needs as well as corridor development. Roadway engineers acquire and incorporate surveys and work with systems such as LiDAR, GPS, ASCII, photogrammetric and contour maps data.
The conceptual design process is jumpstarted by importing topographic data and imagery used in the survey stage, and later to view these designs in a real world setting. 3D visualization software as well as drape imagery will be used to view the site’s capability so as to gain furtherinsight into the plan and design.This becomes the basis of the blueprintof a roadway construction project.
The expertise of roadway engineers is responsible for local, county and statemunicipalities to have stable and sound roads and highways, bridges and tunnels, trails and bike paths and more. If you are seeking employment as a Roadway Engineer, click here. For the list of all our current openings, or even to register for emails notifications of new job listings with us, use the career listing page.