Roads And Highways


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Ok I'm getting down to the nitty gritty on the South wall of the layout. I plan a small town but have no idea of how wide the roads and side walks, and of course a parking lane for the main street. What widths do you use for the towns and highways on your layouts? ( I want to copy! :D )

Cheers Willis
Here's a little sketch I made up just now from some photos I have:


I hope it helps. Bottineau, North Dakota is about as small town as you can get, so you might expect the larger towns to have broader streets.
Thank's RC I printed out the diagram to take downstairs. I'll only have a sidewalk on one side so that should leave lot's of room for all the rest.
One question about the parking lane, 16' 9" I would assume this is angled in parking lanes and parallel parking would be around 10' wide, have I got it right? Funny how a person drives in town just about daily and never notices these things. Guess it's because they're too busy looking for a place to park and happy when they find one to think about measurements.
Cheers Willis
I'd give parallel parking 12 feet at least. 16'-9" is for angled parking, yes. Typcial highway lanes are 10-12 feet in width. For slower roadways 10 feet is normal.

As a rule, here in the Western US, minor roads have a 50 ft. right-of-way, secondary arterial roads have a right-of-way of 60 ft. and major arterial roads have a right-of-way of 80 ft. If you subtract 19 feet from any of those measurements, that's the width of the paving section, centered on the right-of-way. That leaves 9'-6" from the back of curb on each side to the ROW line. The sidewalk is typically right against the right of way line or offset 1 foot and is almost always inside the right-of-way.
Hi RC, I alwas heard property lines started 33 ft from the centerline, then again I guess it's a secondary highway out front, but further into town I wouldn't bet on anything. there are some roads are so narrow it's one way with fences built alongside the pavement. It's an old town. I wonder how many use actual figures in their modeled roads.
Cheers Willis
Well, I've worked in the civil engineering and land surveying industry for about 13 years, and I've worked in Georgia, Texas and Colorado, so my knowledge only speaks to those areas. You're in Canada, so I'm sure there are different conventions for doing things. Your example of 33 feet from center sounds just right for the aerial photo I was scaling, now that I think about it. That would give a 66 foot wide right-of-way, and I can see some "Canadian" conventions would be followed that close to the Canadian border (Bottineau is maybe 13 miles from Manitoba). Anyway, the photo's scale is 1 inch = 1000 feet, so I can see where I might be off a foot or so.

Anyway, you wondered how many modelers use these measurements - well, count me as one!
OK count me as two, I had no idea of how wide the sidewalks or curbs were, never thought to measure them. I like your drawing so I'll stick with it for a standard. Speaking of surveyers there were a couple around here for the past week. Wanted to get some sightings from my markers. No problem with that. Big things going on here. Can't find out much, all close mouthed. LOL a lawyer was telling me he wished he could get his hands on some property out here. Well I can wait them out. :D
PS that 33' from center is a word of mouth thing and could be wrong.
I just have enough room from the layout edge for sidewalk parallel parking and 20' roadway
Cheers Willis
Hello in the drawing the road from the curb has a rising curve to it how do you put that in on the layout?

In my experience, paving the road to get the crown is the most effective approach. Some folks build their roads out of sheet styrene with a strip along the center underneath. That sounds great for straight sections, but I don't see how it would work well for curves without some serious design help (i.e. engineering plans). Others use AMI instant roadbed or cork roadbed with good success, too. But what I've done in the past is basically mimic the real world process.

I cut the road profile out of plastic, usually something somewhat thick, like 0.040" or thicker sheet, to make a giant screed. I extend the profile out an inch or so past the back of curb if there's not going to be any sidewalks or an inch past the back of the sidewalks. Next, draw out exactly where the road goes on the layout and cut strip styrene or balsa wood to fit the limits of the roadway. I place these stripwood or styrene form boards on either side of the roadway to be paved making sure they're at least twice the height difference between the bottom of the gutter and the top of the curb. I mix up some Sculptamold and pour it in the forms letting it get somwhat set up, but not too much. Then I drag the screed along the paved roadway, cleaning it with a damp rag after each pass. I keep the road moist with a spray bottle, which prevents the screed from pulling chunks out of the roadway or making drag marks.

I've never mixed in color with Sculptamold, but I think I'll try it out next time. My Fort Worth modules require massive amounts of paving, so I'm sure I'll get lots of practice. Also, the current design for my modules calls for roads paved in several different eras, so I'll be learning how to do brick streets, asphalt with concrete curb and gutter, as well as the modern monolithic curb, gutter and roadway sections.

As with anything else, study the prototype to see what you can observe yourself. Your own observations are your best tools for doing any modeling job because they are the ones you remember.
Hi RC, I seem to recall vaguely, reading your method sometime in your past posts. This little refresher course is just what I need. One of the roads planned is a downgrade with a turn to the left and across the tracks. Your method will simplify making that road. Left turn on a downgrade with flat styrene or sandpaper was going to be a daunting task. Thanks
Willis (and anyone else who's interested):

I stumbled across this yesterday while looking up some plat standards for work:

This is a set of standard engineering plans for Texas Department of Transportation. Most are available in Microstation format only, but there are plenty of good ones available in an Adobe PDF format. There are layouts for railroad crossing paving markings, signal construction, traffic signal construction, paving sections (similar to what I sketched above), sign details, you name it. I used to have the Colorado Department of Transportation's entire "M" and "S" standard plans, which amounts to nearly every civil engineering detail imaginable, on CDROM, but they're in AutoCAD format (I once worked for a subcontractor for CDOT).

I wish I still had all that stuff! But, now that I've found this resource on the TxDot site, I don't lament it so much.

Anyway, I hope you can find some kind of use for this stuff. The railroad crossing paving markings come to mind as the most useful detail for other folks, since you're obviously modeling Canadian practices.
Anyway, I hope you can find some kind of use for this stuff. The railroad crossing paving markings come to mind as the most useful detail for other folks, since you're obviously modeling Canadian practices.
Ha! it's my road and I'll use the specs I want. I doubt that theres much difference and most likely no one would notice the differences if any :D
Great site with a lot of usefull information, yes I've bookmarked it. I don't have AutoCAD either but as you say theres lots of other stuff there I can access. Thanks for the link it may just prove quite usefull. Thanks RCH
Cheers Willis