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Glossary of Road Terms

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When road engineers and crews discuss their work, they use several terms that may not be familiar to you. Some of the terms are not "official," but they are understood among the people who build and maintain roads. Here are some of the terms they use:

Crest
the high point where there is a change in two up slopes. The opposite would be a dip.
Sight Distance
the distance between a driver and an object when the object first comes into view. On a freeway, drivers need greater sight distance because they are traveling faster. Road designers and traffic regulators strive to maximize sight distance.

When the road is being graded (material is removed, added, or both) these terms are used:

Cut - area where material is removed.
Fill - area where material is added.
Toe - the bottom of a cut or fill slope.
Daylight - where the cut or fill meets the original ground.
Rip- to tear the surface of the ground with the vertical "tooth" of a dozer (a bull-dozer) or motor grader.
Windrow - to stack material in a long horizontal row. 


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