Clover Leaf

In a urbanscape the nature of the 'Nodes' in the development has a direct impact on the efficiency of the city . This is true not only at the human level . but also at the larger scale of Traffic movement. Many solutions to define , refine , evolve such 'Nodes' has been done for last whole century. One such solution is a Clover leaf junction . Some Interesting information on that .

Clover Leaf


In the late 19th and early 20th century , Europe,  United States, Russia, and other countries evolved to a urbanized world and created a  new social order. This was further forced enhanced  by the Industrial revolution and the World Wars.  This was a  crucial period of churning in the technological, scientifical field. The inventions , discoveries made by various scientists, institutions in this period were  indeed a seeding of a  technological evolution & revolution. Today  we , are reaping  the fruits of the tree which evolved out of the seeding done at that time.

Once an American  President remarked that his country prospered because they built good roads, & Infrastructure . That was a truth . The building of  best transport infrastructure facilitated the  development in the country, and America is an best example of it . During the churning period mentioned in the earlier para ,  Scientific research & developments in the field of Infrastructure was taken to a different level by American & Europeans. Transport Infra Design, Highway Engineering were researched to a greater extent . Lot of inventions related to this field also emerged in this period . Designing the Infra elements based on  the type of vehicle, its weight, their number, their speed, the geometry of the turn according to the speed, the lanes, the geometry of the road intersection, its slope angle, drainage scheme,  drainage , road signs, speed control signs and many more evolved  and provided the market a solution to the various challenges faced during those times.

However , a peculiar challenge faced in this urban scape was the Junction of these roads. Which was also resolved thru traffic signals . But as the Number of vehicles increased and the time efficiency factor started dominating , there was a need to address the Design of the Junctions, especially for the highways which has a higher density of traffic . 

There were many solutions proposed , i.e. subways, sideways, bridges  etc .A number of scientific experiments were carried out to solve the growing vehicle management puzzle at the junctions or the nodes.  One of the successful endeavours is the Clover Leaf Junction. This structure is a network of Roads, bridges, Subways , sideways etc in form of a Clover Leaf . The peculiarity of this scheme is that a vehicle coming in one of the eight directions of a crossroads can travel at full speed in any of the remaining seven directions without any signal. This structure resembles the leaf structure of a clover tree, hence the name Clover Leaf.

The invention was patented in 1916 by Arthur Hale, a civil engineer in the United States. These junctions have been built in many places in the United States since 1920. It has been used in other parts worlds as well. Later some changes were made in this structure and more efficient junction design of new method were created. But there are limitations to this system of Junction design. In a highway there is a direct relationship between the speed of the vehicles and the geometry of this structure . The Planning of the Clover leaf takes up a lot of space. It covers an area of ​​at least 16 acres. Because of this it cannot be easily implemented in urban spaces .  Secondly it also costs more because of the multi-layered construction fr the system to function properly. So it could not be used in urban squares.

The first cloverleaf interchange built in the United States was the Woodbridge Cloverleaf at intersection of the Lincoln Highway (Route 25) and St. Georges Avenue (Route 4)  in Woodbridge Township, New Jersey. It opened in 1929, and has been replaced with a partial cloverleaf interchange.

The first cloverleaf interchange in Canada opened in 1937 at the junction of the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) and Provincial Highway 10 in Port Credit, Ontario .

The cloverleaf was patented in Europe in Switzerland on October 15, 1928. The first cloverleaf in Europe opened in October 1935 at Slussen in central Stockholm, Sweden, followed in 1936 by Schkeuditzer Kreuz near Leipzig, Germany.

India was a bit late to sync in the development of infrastructure around the world . But none the less it has picked up and has demonstrated its will to get on to this  path . Clover Leaf junctions have been constructed in India at Chennai in 2008 , followed by Delhi, Noida, Bangalore. The largest junction in South Asia is at Kathipara in Chennai, the other one in Chennai is at   Madhuravoyal junction . These  junctions including the one on  Yamuna Expressway Noida-Badarpur Junction, Mukarba Chowk Delhi, Bangalore-Mysore Highway are magnificent  and are serving to the fullest to give a  uninterrupted traffic  movement on the transport corridors of India .

These turning road junctions on our  highway are surely  the turning points of India’s future .

Parag Kendrekar

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