Surveying Process for Highways

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You must have your proposed road analyzed and surveyed before you can begin the construction. Here are the steps of an engineering survey to prepare the location for the highway.


The first step in this process is analyzing a topographical map. A topographical map is one that shows natural features of the land such as hills, rivers, forest areas, etc. You may be able to analyze other maps that show further information such as the man-made structures in the area. This would include drainage pipes, current roads, and other such features. Every feature in the area needs to be in view so that the next step can proceed.


This step takes the features discovered in the first step and compares them to the plan that has been proposed. Analyzing will give the surveyor and you a better idea of exactly where the highway should be built. While you can keep the road straight and simply blaze through everything that comes your way, you might also choose to curve the road just a little and preserve that large hill. Turning the road a bit could save your crew some extra work. Perhaps changing your plan just a little will change the cost dramatically.

Preliminary Survey

The preliminary survey summarizes the available routes that have been left due to the reconnaissance. From these routes that have been proposed, the best route will be selected by working through the distance, speed cars would be able to go, and cost of building the highway along that route. In this step, the surveyor will get out and interact with the land, using several surveying instruments such as compass, level, and chain. This active measuring will help decide which route is the best.

Impact Survey

The last step singled out what is believed to be the best route. Now that route is severely analyzed in how great its impact on the environment will be. For example, will the air pollution in that area cause excess problems? How will the wildlife be affected? If there is a large deer population in that particular area, another route may be considered as the deer would both be hurt and hurt drivers. Secondly, the highway would be surveyed as for how it affects the people. Will the highway be too loud and bring down the housing values of nearby developments? Is it especially difficult to get building permits in that area? Once these questions have been answered and a final route has been decided on, accurate instruments are used to give a final analysis and survey of the land. Specifications including specific miles, height, etc, are written down, and the land is bought.