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Camber in Roads- Importance and Types of Camber in Road

Highways often have elevated asphalt medians, where the edge of the surface is higher than the middle. In a diagonal direction, this slope is called the camber. The camber of the road surface is made so that rainwater flows away from the edges. The camber of a road surface is the slope in the transverse direction that helps drain rainwater. It’s also called a road’s cross-slope.

What is Camber in Road?
Camber is a slope on the road surface in the transverse direction that allows rainwater to drain off the surface and keeps cars from sliding and causing damage to the pavement. Again, camber is one of the most important parts of a road’s pavement. It has a lot of benefits that make the road surface last longer.
Generally, a camber is a crown-shaped part of the road surface that is made by raising the middle of the road compared to its edges. Most of the time, the rate of camber or cross slope of a road is written as “1 in n,” which means that the transverse slope is in the ratio of 1 vertical to n horizontal, or it can be written as a percentage. For example, a road with 2.5% camber has a camber of 1 in 40.

Importance of Camber in Road:

Types of Camber in Road:
1. Sloped or Straight Camber:
Sloped and Straight Camber
Fig1: Sloped and Straight Camber
Straight Line Camber comprises two slopes that come from the edges and meet in the middle of the carriageway. It’s the simplest type of camber. It’s easy to build and easy to keep in good shape.

2. Composite Camber.
Composite Camber
Fig2: Composite Camber
Hybrid camber could be part parabola and part straight line, or it could be made up of two straight lines with different slopes. Most of the time, the middle of the road is made to be parabolic, and the edges are given straight slopes. It helps to lessen the force of the pressure by making the wheel’s contact area bigger.

3. Parabolic or Barrel Camber:
Parabolic Camber
Fig3: Parabolic Camber
It is a continuous elliptical or parabolic curve. It provides a level roadway in the center and gradually rises to a steeper grade on the road’s periphery. Greater drainage efficiency results from the sharper edges of this camber type. Faster vehicles prefer this camber, so it is recommended for city streets. Maintaining and building a camber like this is challenging. Barrel camber is less user-friendly due to its sharper corners. Also, extra curbs are needed because the sharper the edge, the faster it will be damaged if it is not protected.

4. Two Straight Line Camber:
Two Straight Line Camber
Fig4: Two Straight Line Camber
The straight lines are more acute at the edges and more gradual at the crown. It has been determined that this camber is optimal for use on Indian roadways.

Technique for Creating Camber in Roads:
Camber is typically provided on straight roads by elevating the center of the carriageway relative to the edges, creating a crown or highest point on the center line. If you want to improve surface drainage at horizontal curves with super elevation, you can do so by elevating the outer edge of the pavement relative to the inner edge.

Camber, also known as cross slope, is typically specified as a rate of 1 in n, with the transverse slope corresponding to a 1:n vertical to horizontal incline. The value of camber can be expressed as a percentage. The cross slope is proportional to the camber, so if the camber is n percent, the cross slope is n over 100.

Advantages of Camber in Road:

Disadvantages of Camber in Road:

IRC Recommended Values of Camber in Road for Different Types of Road

Type of Road Surface Range of Camber in Areas of
Low Rainfall Heavy Rainfall
Cement concrete and thick bituminous surface 1 in 60 or 1.7% 1 in 50 or 2.0%
Water bound macadam and gravel pavement 1 in 40 or 2.5% 1 in 33 or 3.0%
Thin bituminous surface 1 in 50 or 2.0% 1 in 40 or 2.5%
Earth Road 1 in 33 or 3.0% 1 in 25 or 4.0%

Camber is a curve that is added to a road’s cross-section. It is the difference in height between the crown, the highest point of the road, and the edge. The crown is usually in the middle of the carriageway. The function of the camber is to get rainwater off the edges of the road surface. Camber is the slope given to the road surface in a crosswise direction so that rainwater can drain off the road.

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Kanwarjot Singh

Kanwarjot Singh is the founder of Civil Engineering Portal, a leading civil engineering website which has been awarded as the best online publication by CIDC. He did his BE civil from Thapar University, Patiala and has been working on this website with his team of Civil Engineers.

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