Questions Engineering

Why are roads on mountains curved instead of being straight?

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Airtract

Wafa Khan

Good things take time

There are different reasons why roads on mountains and hills are constructed in a curved way instead of a straight way. First, it’s because heavy vehicles such as trucks and semi-trucks find it tough when moving on a steep hill. Another thing is that during cold seasons, the roads can get icy and therefore in a straight path it would be tough for vehicles and even people to move up and down on a slick way. In such instances, if the road were straight, there would be a case of accidents all the time. Vehicles would be sliding all over the place. Therefore roads are created in a curved way to avoid such instances. 

For people to reduce the inclined nature of a mountain, they make the roads longer by putting curved in the way. Riding a bicycle up a hill can be a very challenging task but riding it on a zig-zagged road makes it easier to go up and down. Making it curved ensures that it’s flatter even though it becomes longer. 

Another reason why roads are made in a curved way is that most mountains have natural curves paths where roads can be constructed therefore making it easier to build an arched way rather than the straightway. 

When building a road as an engineer, you must balance the quantities of the earthwork. In simple terms, you use what you excavate from the mountain to make the drive. This becomes a huge determining factor when developing a road since it dictates how the way will be constructed. Constructing a straight path up a hill is difficult because of the many obstacles which would have to be eliminated first. In the mountain terrain obstacles such as rocks which would have to be blasted for the road to go up. To avoid these hard tasks, engineers opt to take the road in a zig-zag manner. 

There are also natural disasters that can be prevented by building a curved road. When there are cases of mudslides and landslides, it can be hazardous when having a steep trail. Another thing is that in areas which are very steep the only options would be building a curved road or a tunnel. Remember making a pit would be very expensive and therefore the cheaper way is just creating a curved road. 

In cases of accidents, steep roads can cause more damage than curved paths. It’s easier to control a vehicle on a curved road than a steep trail. That is one of the factors considered when building the roads. Lastly, it would be easier to maintain a curved path than a straight road in a hill.

Airtract

Usman Banda

Inhale confidence Exhale doubt

To reach the mountain tops, we need to make a steep movement to reach. There are some specific design standards with maximum grades for specific styles of roadways. Any vehicle be it lightweight or heavyweight faces difficulty in climbing the mountain roads if they are too steep. On the other hand, there is one more thing which we can’t ignore, that is snowfall which is common in hilly areas. During the winter, the roads of mountain areas become icy or slippery which makes the roads dangerous and difficult for the movement of the vehicles.  Vehicles will easily slide down and face serious accidents if the roads remain straight and not curved.

This is one of the key reasons behind the fact of why mountain roads are curved and not straight. There is one more reason behind such type of ways in the mountainous region. The real issue here is power. Maximum vehicles cannot exert sufficient force, which is strong enough to make the easy climb up of steep slope. On the other hand, if even in the case we consider they have enough power to move up, they lack enough gasoline to drive on the steep slope again and again.

In both cases, forcing the vehicles to move up longer turns to be complicated. For less steep slope, less power is needed by the vehicle. The concept is that it will be easier for one to exert less control and that too for a more extended period. So the roads of the mountains are always made curvy and not straight.

So above are 2 reasons for which you will always see the mountain roads curvy wherever you go in any remote location.

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