Highway engineering is a branch of civil engineering, which concentrates on the design, construction and maintenance of roads, bridges, and tunnels.
It is an important discipline within the civil engineering industry, which can be traced all the way back to the Roman era, and is constantly evolving to keep up to date with a wide variety of factors.
Factors That Affect Highway Engineering
As mentioned above, there are many things that need to be taken into consideration when looking at the construction of highways, roads, pavements, and other related projects. There are constant increases in the amount of traffic on roads in the UK, evolutions within the cars themselves, and all kinds of pollution to consider. This is all in addition to the constantly evolving highway safety regulations.
The first thing a highway engineer needs to consider before starting a project is the current and future traffic volumes, whether that be vehicles on a highway or footfall on a pavement. This will help with the prediction of potential maintenance costs, as well as helping the engineer to decide on materials and design.
In addition to securing financing for the initial project build, ongoing maintenance costs need to be considered and calculated. The technology available, the evolution of highway design, and the economic environment all cause this to be another constantly evolving factor.
Pollution & Environmental Impact
There are several kinds of pollution to be considered when planning any kind of highway engineering project. It’s not just pollution of air and water that are looked at, although they are still scrutinised in detail.
For example, noise pollution. Highway engineers will look at the possible interference with daily life from noise during construction of the project and the subsequent traffic that will frequent the area.
Highway engineers have to consider all of these factors in addition to those that are considered by all civil engineers (such as materials and safety regulations) before even reaching the design phase. We’ll get on to that at a later date, though…