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Highways Research Station was established in the year 1954. Foundation stone was laid by the former Governor of Madras in the year 1956 and the building was inaugurated by Former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in the year 1957. Research on techniques, testing of materials adopted in Highway Construction for Road & Bridge works being executed in Highways Department are the primary functions of HRS. It also provides technical guidance to the personnel of Highways Department, whenever required. Under the Director (Chief Engineer Level Officer), a Joint Director, four Deputy Directors (Lab) and Eight Divisional Engineers (Quality Control) are carrying out the activities of HRS.

The objectives of HRS :

The objective of Highways Research Station is “BUILDING ROADS, “safely, qualitatively, expeditiously, economically and comfortably”

Functions of HRS :

  • Ensuring quality of the materials used in the construction of road and bridge works executed by the Department.
  • Continuous research in highway engineering with a view to utilize the available resources optimally.
  • Analyzing field issues and arriving at a better solution.
  • Suggesting suitable remedial measures for identified black spots and junction improvements.
  • Conducting Road Safety Audit.

Activities of HRS

I. Routine Activities

HRS has four laboratories at Chennai viz., Soils, Concrete, Bitumen and Traffic Labs with state- of- the- art equipments. Well equipped eight regional laboratories are also functioning at Villupuram, Trichy, Thanjavur, Madurai, Tirunelveli, Salem, Tiruppur and Coimbatore.

Routine activities like testing of soil & rock samples, pile load tests for bridges, non-destructive tests on concrete members, material testing viz cement, steel, designing of flexible and rigid pavements, concrete and bituminous mix designs, evaluation of surface characteristics by road surface roughness tests, structural evaluation by carrying out Benklemen Beam Deflection Test (BBD) and Junction improvement techniques based on traffic and assessing the Vehicle Damage Factor (VDF) by axle load survey are being undertaken in the above laboratories.


  • Crushed Stone Sand (M-Sand)

    Crushed Stone Sand (M-Sand) is being used in Tamil Nadu Highways Department since 2015 as an alternate to River Sand. The manufacturing unit is being inspected by the Superintending Engineer (H) Construction & Maintenance and Divisional Engineer (H) Quality Control of the respective circles to ensure the quality of Crushed Stone Sand (M-Sand) and being used for various Highways Works.

    A detailed Study on the Crushed Stone Sand (M-Sand) obtained through Vertical Shaft Impact (VSI) Crusher unit with variation in percentage of micro fines (75 micron passing) was undertaken by HRS. it was observed that 28 days compressive strength achieved by using Crushed Stone Sand (M-Sand) are well above the compressive strength that achieved using River Sand and so far 400 concrete mix design were evolved and used various construction works in Highways.


    RCC Beam Test using Crushed Stone Sand


    RCC Slab Test using Crushed Stone Sand

  • Remedial Measures for Rehabilitation of Distressed Bridges

    During the Year 2018 the following Old bridges requiring repair and rehabilitation were inspected by a team of HRS

    1. ROB at Km.123/2 of Old NH-45 Passing through Tindivanam town of Villupuram (H) C&M Division.
    2. Bridge at Km.0/2 of Pennaiyar bridge approach road (SHU-47) Kallakurichi (H) C&M Division.
    3. Thanthai Periyar Bridge across Cauvery River at km 0/385- 1/850 of Musiri –Kulithalai –Pudukottai –Alangudi –Peravoorani –Sethubavachatram Road (SHU-71) in the jurisdiction of Karur (H), C&M Division.

    Suitable remedial measures such as Sealing of Cracks, Guniting / Shotcreting, replacing the bearings, replacing expansion joints, repairs to wearing coat, Bed protection and river training works were suggested to enhance the service life and utilization of the bridges.

  • Study on the effect of asphalt additives in bituminous mixes

    During the year 2018-19, “Study on the effect of asphalt additives in bituminous mixes”, an internal research laboratory study was conducted.

    The Field performance study is being conducted for Hot Mix Asphalt Applications in km 5/0 – 7/0 of Avinashi – Tiruppur – Avinashipalayam road (NH 381).


    Specimen after stripping test, on hydrophilic aggregate

  • Roughness Test conducted for TNRSP Roads

    Roughness test is conducted for the roads in Output Performance based Road Contract for the Maintenance of TNRSP roads in presence of HRS Engineers. Recently, the roughness test was conducted for Nagapattinam – Thoothukudi Road from Km 10/2 to 102/0 for both directions.


    Roughness test for Nagapattinam – Thoothukudi Road from Km 10/2 to 102/0

  • Junction Improvement works

    Junction Improvement has been proposed for the work of Construction of Combined Flyover along NH 7 at Km 199/455 of NH 7 Varanasi –Kanyakumari Road and Km 199/2 of SHU 80 (Old NH-7) at Kuranguchavadi Junction in Salem City by providing Circular rotary of 35m dia at the junction of SHU 80 with NH 7 Kuranguchavadi junction in order to reduce the conflicts.


III. Research Activities

The following research schemes under Tamil Nadu Innovation Initiatives Fund (TANII) are under way.

  1. Bridge Instrumentation for Structural Health Monitoring System in Highways Department.

    Data such as displacement, strain, vibration and temperature will be collected using instrumentation. This will help in making scientific decision and in terms of prioritization for retrofitting and rehabilitation.


    Data Acquisition system used to obtain data automatically

  2. “Study on the technology of long lasting pavement with aid of Circular Test Track” to facilitate the accelerated circular test track for design of the long lasting flexible pavement (perpetual pavement). Based on the limiting factors of tensile and compressive strains at the respective layers of flexible pavement, as per IRC, the loading is arrived for the design of perpetual pavements. The testing pavement system would be tested for real time loading till the end of the design life, by accelerating the loading conditions and environmental conditions and suggest its suitability such that whose design would reduce the periodical maintenance cost on the pavement. The accelerated test track facility project is under progress to evaluate and design long lasting pavements.

  3. Study on performance of bituminous pavement laid over stabilized sub base:

    Flexible pavement is composed of three layers, namely sub –base layer, base layer and bituminous layer. In conventional method of pavement design, resilient modulus of each layer is considered. Due to technological advancement there is scope for improving the modules of sub-base and base layers. More economical pavement design can be made by adopting innovative methods of stabilizing sub-base and base layers. Highways Research Station has initiated a step towards this direction by taking up a research study in Tambram Somagalam road. Pavement performance is evaluated by Web monitoring the stress and strain developed at the subgrade level. Conducting the BBD at every three months interval and ascertaining the road traffic volume by conducting axle load survey every year.


    Experimental Stretch Tambaram – Somangalam Road Km 2/4- 2/8


    Experimental Stretch Tambaram – Somangalam Road Km 4/8- 5/8


    Previous condition of the road at Km 5/4 – 5/6


    Finished surface at Km 5/4 – 5/6

  4. Study on the effect of Nano clay in bituminous mixes

    By addition of nano clays viz., Bentonite Nano clay & Montmorillonite Nano clay as additives to the conventional bitumen (VG30) which enhance the modified bitumen properties & the improved performance of the bituminous mix properties.

III. Training

Engineers of the Highways Department in all cadres have been trained consistently on various aspects of Highway Engineering from 2012.

  • Orientation programme to the newly recruited Assistant Engineers

    Training to the newly recruited Engineers (2018 batch) (TNPSC) has been given recently. The resource persons from various wings of the Highways department delivered lectures and shared their wide knowledge and experiences.

  • MoU with IIT-M - Road Safety Audit Training

    MoU has been signed with IIT-Madras & Training on “Road Safety Audit” was conducted in four batches at HRS for 128 Engineers of Highways Department.

  • Weekly lecture Programme

    277 weekly lectures have been delivered so far and about 9875 Engineers have been benefitted.

  • News Letter:

    News Letter covering important events and achievements of the Department are being published quarterly.


During the 78th Annual session of Indian Roads Congress held on 3rd to 6th November 2017 at Bengaluru (Karnataka), two technical presentations and during the 79th Annual session of Indian Roads Congress held on 22nd to 25th November 2018 at Nagpur (Maharashtra) one technical presentation were made on behalf of Highways Research Station, Chennai.



A three-tier quality control system is being adopted in Highways Department, to check the quality of works at all stages, by conducting relevant tests. Eight Quality control Divisions at circle level have been established to achieve the above purpose. The quality checks conducted at every stage of a work ensures better quality assurance.


Director, HRS is a Governing Council committee member of the following Boards and Committees;

  • Indian Road Congress
  • Highway Research Board
  • Institute of Road Transport


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Last Updated: 25-01-2021
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