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Difference between Metalled and Unmetalled Roads

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Metalled roads refer to those roads which are constructed with the aid of cement, concrete, or by bitumen, or coal. Whereas, unmetalled roads are natural pathways that are constructed primarily by the use of mud. The metalled road can be used in the rainy season, whereas the unmetalled road goes out of use in the monsoon season.

Transportation of goods and services from one place to another can be done through roadways. Roads are a route between two destinations, which have worked to enable transportation by way of motorized and non-motorized carriages. Roads are essential for the movement of goods and materials between countries. Trade and commerce are possible between countries because of roads. Traveling a large number of people over long distances becomes convenient.

Difference between Metalled and Unmetalled Roads

Difference between Metalled and Unmetalled Roads


Roads a vital role in a country’s economic development. They allow people, goods and commodities, and automobiles to traverse a diverse range of lands so that they can reach their destination without any difficulty. Roads are necessary as an infrastructure in any area for any type of movement and for carrying out necessary day-to-day activities. They are the connecting link between different cities and towns and even villages, roads serve as a very crucial means for automobiles and people to travel from source to destination. India has one of the largest roads, approximately about 54.7 lakh km. 

Types of Roads

The types of roads are as follows:

Metalled Roads

A metalled road means a road that is covered by Tar mixed with aggregates of small sizes. These aggregates are made of crushed rock. For a long time, this was followed. One of the possible reasons for the metalled could be, prior to the construction the roads were not plain and there were so many ups and downs and also small pits. After applying tar and aggregates it becomes smooth as smooth metal.

Unmetalled Roads

They are also known as gravel roads, are rough, and cannot carry more weight. These are unpaved roads made of clay and crushed rocks. These roads can be used only in dry conditions, In the rainy season, the roads go out of use. It becomes a muddy mire in wet weather and a dusty pile in dry conditions. 

Metalled Roads 

Unmetalled Roads

Metalled roads are mainly made up of cement, concrete, bitumen, or coal. 

Unmetalled roads are mainly made up of clay, mud, and crushed rocks. 

They consist of successive layers of a small stone, compacted until it becomes a plain, hard surface. 

They contain mud and gravel which are generally found in rural areas. 

These roads are suitable for every weather.

These roads can only be used in dry conditions, they have no use in the rainy season. 

These are well-constructed roads for motorized and non-motorized vehicles. 

These roads are not constructed with appropriate measures 

Metalled roadways are made to sustain heavy vehicular loads.

Unmetalled roadways are rough and can sustain less weight. 

Most of the urban roads are metalled roads. 

Most of rural roads are generally unmetalled roads.

E.g. Cement concrete roads, and bituminous roads. 

E.g. Earthen roads, and Water Bound Macadam (WBM) roads. 

Importance of Roadways

The importance of roadways are as follows:

  • The construction of roads is easier and cost less. This result in creating better means for transport in a significant budget and increase the opportunities for trade in the country as well as globally.
  • Roads can traverse comparatively more diverse and varied terrain particularly containing adverse rise and fall in ground levels. 
  • Roads can work out through higher gradients of slopes and can also traverse in areas such as the Himalayas where other transportation means are difficult to reach. 
  • The different organizations have different factors behind using the road transport method. For small businesses, road transport is economical for relatively smaller amounts of goods over short distances. 
  • Road transport offers door-to-door service for the delivery of goods. Hence the cost of loading and unloading the goods is much lower. 
  • It also paves the way for the construction of other modes of transport like railways, airways, etc. 

Challenges of Roadways

During the rainy seasons, the unmetalled roads go out of use as they are not fully built for construction. Half of the roads used today are unmetalled. The current length of roads that is in use is insufficient in comparison to transport and commuters. The increase in population leads to an increase in vehicles on roads, these roads are not capable of handling the increasing load of conveyance on it. This leads to traffic jams and road rage. As compared to the usage ever National Highways are insufficient.

Related Links

  1. Road Transport
  2. Transportation In India

Frequently Asked Questions

Q 1. What are the advantages of metalled roads? 


A road is a pathway. People frequently use the same way over a period of time making it easy and comfortable to walk. Metalled roads were originally used in connecting important difficult areas and helps in economic development of the area. Metalled roads causes less wear and tear of the automobile and helps in easy drive and cover long distances comfortably. 

Q 2. Discuss the new approach used in the development of metalled roads. 


The municipal corporations replace about 30% of aggregates by small pieces of discarded plastic. The Chennai municipal corporation was first to use plastic pieces. Now it is used at all places in India.

Q 3. Can Unmetalled roads be used for driving?


These unmetalled roads or unsurfaced roads can be technically used for driving. Driving on these kind of roads can cause heavy damage to the vehicles and reduce the performance of the vehicle. The person driving on such roads can develop several injuries over a period of time. 

Q 4. Which road is better concrete or bitumen? 


Asphalt roads have better skid resistance and provide good traction as compared to concrete roads. In winter season, it takes less time for snow to melt on asphalt road and more time on concrete road. Concrete roads as more environment friendly as Asphalt produces polluting gases when it is melted during construction of roads. 

Q 5. Why are metalled roads called all-weather roads?


Metalled are hard and improved roads, they have high weight carrying capability and are waterproof. Their surface is not affected by heat, cold, wind, rain or snow. These roads gets eroded by traffic tire friction only but it is a very slow process. 

Last Updated : 21 Jan, 2024
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