Use of MacRoad in the Design of an Urban Highway in the U.K.
Professor Peter R. Rankilor
(NOTE: MacRoad has now been renamed to HighRoad)
Peter Rankilor was the earthworks and environmental consultant
for the design of a 4 km urban bypass in the United Kingdom
(project completed December 1999).
This dual lane,
dual carriageway highway passed through heavily built-up areas in
one of the United Kingdom's oldest industrialised areas. A new twin-track
railway line was also to be constructed at the side of the bypass,
over the most difficult part of the route.
Rankilor was retained to undertake the fundamental earthworks
design, the client had already surveyed the site and had a
team of four CAD operators working on four separate MOSS stations
to handle the surveying work.
a long-term user of MacRoad, Professor Rankilor decided to
immediately transfer all the data to his Macintosh laptop
in order to work on a potential earthwork profile and technical
analysis of the proposed bypass.
was using what is now a relatively old laptop, Professor Rankilor
found that the entire data set went into his machine easily. After
unifying the four separate sets of MOSS data, one of the first things
he noticed was that one of the sets was in error. Due to the illness
of one of the CAD operators, one data set was inadvertently outdated.
The border edge errors became obvious when placed on a single MacRoad
layout. This was corrected, saving potential disputes with the contractor
during the construction stage.
Professor Rankilor was able to handle the full data set that
had previously necessitated four CAD operators. He could continuously
design the earthwork profile along the whole of the bypass and insert
cross sections into his slip circle analysis programs to design
the stability of the embankments and cuttings. The cross section
feature with its detailed co-ordinates output made the transfer
of data into slip circle analysis and structural programs easy.
the many benefits of the program is its ability to easily
change the road profile. The major example of this was
the bypass design, which initially involved just a dual lane
into construction, the client decided to add a parallel railway
to the side of the dual lane carriageway. As this ran out
over the edge of a valley for most of the route, there was
a considerable impact on the earthworks volumes. A total redesign
Within a short
space of time, Professor Rankilor was able to add a wider carriageway
onto the old design and calculate new cross sections, volumes and
undertake the total stability redesign. Without MacRoad, he would
have been forced to rely upon the slow production of cross sections
from the MOSS system. What would have taken many weeks was done
in just a couple of days.
the schematics of the revised requirements, the volumetric calculations
for preliminary financial discussions with the contractor, cross
sections and plans for the guidance of the MOSS team, borehole position
maps for the necessitated new site investigation and land boundary
plans for negotiations with the railway company. Without MacRoad
all this would have been impossible to achieve as quickly as necessary.
emphasises that the heavyweight packages such as MOSS do have many
features that MacRoad does not have such as the ability to produce
cross sections at any angle across the DTM (albeit very slowly).
Also, the large programs such as MOSS are capable of a very high
level of detail which is often required for modern works. Moss can
create any complex type of multiple interchange and detailed features.
also states that these larger programs are made for a different
purpose from MacRoad. They are more 'construction detailing' software
rather than true 'design' programs. MacRoad allows the engineer
to hold the whole project in laptop memory, to go on site with it
and use it to really design things.
Rankilor sees MacRoad and MOSS-type packages working together. He
suggests that the engineer uses MacRoad to work in conjunction with
MOSS, thus creating the perfect team situation.
example of MacRoad's adaptability on the highway bypass project
was during the construction works when one part of the carriageway
had to be lowered, affecting a substantial length on either
Rankilor, using MacRoad, produced a number of different profile
scenarios very rapidly. These allowed the client to consider
which solution was the more appropriate and to adopt an ideal
change of height and profile. This was literally done in a
matter of hours rather than taking days for a team of the
to superimpose the sloping banks onto the contour map of the original
ground surfaces allowed Professor Rankilor to calculate and determine
the edge drainage requirements for the embankments. Without MacRoad
they would have been very difficult to manually assess.
proved its worth time and time again in other cases and in producing
handy maps and sections for the many public interface enquiries
that the Authorities responded to during the course of the works.
As far as the
standard design of the highway was concerned, the earthworks for
this major £20,000,000 scheme were entirely designed using MacRoad.
The MOSS and CAD systems used by the client became a historical
recorder of what MacRoad designed.
Beyond the standard
design benefits of MacRoad, Professor Rankilor, being also a Geologist
and Mining Consultant, used MacRoad's contouring facilities to interpret
the subsurface geological features of the site.
note: Professor Rankilor's innovative use of MacRoad for geotechnical
purposes will be the subject of a followup article. This will include
details of borehole analysis, creating contours of rockhead, plotting
strata such as mine workings, creation of isopachyte (thickness
contours) plans. This will be published here soon.]
Rankilor says that not only were the facilities of MacRoad
so critically useful in determining factual data, but the
very use of an impartial extrapolating program provided him
with professional reasons for making engineering judgements.
a professionally impartial program is much better than hand
calculations and hand drawn contour plans, which could be
accused of being partial or incorrect.
has asked us to say that MacRoad was not only useful, but - without
any exaggeration - it was incredibly useful. For him it was indispensable.
As well as for
highway design, Professor Rankilor advocates MacRoad for many earthworks
and project assessment purposes where quick realistic overviews
of potential projects can win the day in bidding or selling ideas
says that he is looking forward to using the new HighRoad program
and feels that many more of his clients will benefit from it now
it is available for PC.
Peter R. Rankilor
PhD MSc BSc CEng CText FICE FTI FIMM FIGeol FGS
Geologist, Chartered Civil Engineer
of the AGS (Association of Geoenvironmental Specialists)
Professor at the Bolton Institute
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