15th September, 2020

Things To Consider When Building Roads in Hilly Areas

Hilly terrain presents unique challenges for many types of construction projects. This extends to roads, which may become dangerous if you do not take the proper actions to level out the pathway and prevent shifting ground from falling. In order to achieve security for people who will pass through, take note of these things to consider when building roads in hilly areas.


A road that is overly steep can be difficult for vehicles to climb and may promote dangerously high speeds in vehicles descending the slope. Because of this, you must work to decrease the slope at any given point along the road as much as possible by cutting away or adding earth. Sometimes, the cost of doing so is too high to justify or will create too much instability, in which case you may incorporate short stretches where the road is steeper and alternate these with sections that are flatter. Hairpin bends which see the road wind back and forth can help mitigate the angle of a hill, but you should still seek to minimize them so that the road is easier to follow for drivers.


Even if the ground itself is relatively firm on a hill, water brought about by precipitation can weaken it through the process of erosion. The earth at higher elevations may then be at higher risk of falling onto lower portions of the road. Thus, a thing to consider when building roads in hilly areas is the design of drainage systems. You may build surface-level drains or subsurface tunnel routes where water that falls on the hill can collect and safely travel down without carrying soil with it. However, while they are necessary, your goal is again to use the least amount of drains so as to save on construction funds.

Slope Stabilization

Slope stabilization involves techniques that hold soil on a hill in place so that it does not shift due to wind, rain, or any other physical forces. You may purposely lay down large rocks or plants on the hillside for this reason. Another common approach is to build retaining walls that hold up ground, blocking it from falling onto the adjacent road below. These may be made of various sturdy materials that can handle the weight of the earth, including concrete and plastic lumber. Technically, drainage is also a part of slope stabilization and is often used in tandem with the other methods, though it focuses on guiding water rather than stopping ground movement directly.

If you are working on a road in a hilly location and need a dependable material for assembling retaining walls on smaller slopes, use the plastic landscape timbers that Tangent Materials offers. With their imperviousness to water and microorganisms, they’ll last through variable outdoor conditions. They also work great in residential areas because of their wood-like appearance.