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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 and materials adopted in Highway Construction and ensuring Quality Assurance 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.

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 subsurface soil exploration, 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 Benkelman Beam Deflection Test (BBD) and designing the pavements based on traffic and assessing the Vehicle damage factor (VDF) by conducting axle load tests and Junction improvement techniques are being undertaken in the above laboratories.

Apart from this, HRS helps in traffic related issues in co-ordination with the Government agencies such as Traffic wing of Police Department. Expert advice is also offered for other Government agencies on technical specifications related to road safety related components etc., to build safe infrastructure.


Benkelman Beam Deflection Test
(Strengthening of Pavement)


Pile Load Test


Subsurface Soil Exploration


Flexural Strength - before loading


Flexural Strength - after loading

(Flexural Strength Test of Steel Fibre Reinforced Concrete Beam)


Laying of Cement Concrete Pavement using copper slag as fine aggregate Tiruneermalai road


Gyratory Compactor for compaction in gyratory mode (both axial and shearing action) to and traffic densification


Universal Testing Machine for assessment of performance of Bituminous mix by simulate construction measuring Stiffness modulus, Resilient modulus & Indirect tensile stiffness modulus


Pressure Aging Vessel to simulate long term aging of bitumen


Stand alone Four Point Bending Machine for measurement of fatigue resistance of bituminous mix


Axle Load and Traffic Volume Count survey


Axle mounted Bump Integrator to collect Surface Roughness

II. Research Activities :

During this year 2017-18, the following three research schemes were sanctioned under Tamil Nadu Innovation Initiatives Fund (TANII) as per G.O.(D) Nos.192, 193, 194, Highways & Minor Ports (HN1) Department, dated 07.08.2017;

  • Bridge Instrumentation for Structural Health Monitoring System in Highways Department.
  • Study on the technology of long lasting pavement with aid of Circular Test Track
  • Study on Improving the Subgrade Soil by adding Quarry Dust Research works are in progress.
III. Training :

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

(ii) Training was imparted to the Assistant Engineers joined the Department in the year 2016. The experts in the relevant area, from various wings in the Highways Department, delivered lectures and shared their wide knowledge and experience which were of immense use to the newly recruited Assistant Engineers.

Training Training

(iii) Three days Quality Control Training Programme was conducted by Highways Research Station for the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department Engineers in 6 Batches (20 Nos. / batch). 118 Assistant Engineers of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department have been benefitted by this training programme.

Training Training

(iv) Under MoU with CSIR-CRRI, two training programs were conducted

  • (i) Road Safety Audit Training Program

Five Days training programme on Road Safety Audit was conducted in 2 batches for 103 Engineers. The trained 103 engineers are allotted vulnerable road stretches for conducting road safety audit to suggest suitable remedial measures for implementation.

Training Training Training
  • (ii) HDM-IV Training Programme :

To impart the principles of Data Analysis, Scientific Decision-support system based prioritization of intervention to the Road Infrastructure, Five day training programme was conducted to 19 Engineers. This training was structured as intense Hands on training programme which was led by Shri.T.K.Amla, Head & Sr.Scientist, Industry Liason & Training, and the core Expert team from CSIR-CRRI. For trained Engineers, revisit session followed by practical sessions were also conducted.

Training Training
IV. Seminars and Workshops

To update the knowledge of the Engineers, Seminars and Workshops on various topics with eminent speakers are being conducted often.

Seminars Seminars
V. Weekly Technical Lecture Programme :

Weekly Technical lectures are being conducted every Tuesday evening. More than 200 weekly lectures have been delivered so far and about 7500 Engineers have been benefitted.

VI. News Letter :

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


Besides Laboratory and Research activities, Quality of roads and bridges that are being executed by Highways are monitored by Quality Control Divisions.

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: 20-09-2019
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