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National Cemetery Administration

Site Elements/Features - Roadway System

The hierarchy of roads in the cemetery includes the entrance road as a divided two-lane road leading into the system of primary and secondary roads and service drives. The design of all the roads should accommodate anticipated traffic volume at a design speed of 24 km/h (15 mph). The roadway system should allow for funeral corteges to proceed in a forward direction from entry to departure. The roadway system should be simple and provide good access to all burial sections. Winding roads and sweeping curves enhance the beauty of the cemetery. Roadside landscaping that complements the appearance of the cemetery should be provided.

The preferred road design includes curbing. In expansions of existing cemeteries, the road design will follow the master plan. Roads designed without curbing will have edge reinforcement. Where curbing is used, it must be mountable (rolled, sloped, flush or battered-face) for traffic control, equipment access, and drainage control. Design storm drainage curb and gutter inlets to match the profile of the curb and/or curb and gutter. No part of the inlet shall be behind the curb. Select the grating for inlets based on drainage capacity, ability to screen out harmful debris, ability to pass unobjectionable debris, strength and permanency. Use vertical curbing on roads within the cemetery only if necessary for traffic control. Maximum road grade is 10 percent. The entrance road, primary and secondary roads are generally wide enough for two-way traffic to pass a parked vehicle. Preferred minimum road widths and radii are outlined in the table that follows in this section. Quality in initial construction and construction materials is critical to the cemetery roadway system. All roads should support heavy equipment and large trucks loaded with wet dirt, gravel and headstones.

Parking in the cemetery is accommodated in several ways to meet the various needs of staff and visitors, as identified in the design criteria for the specific building/complex. Typically, cemetery visitors will parallel park along cemetery roads, or in parallel pull-offs, to visit interment areas or cemetery features such as the Flag/Assembly Area, Memorial Walkway or Public Information Center. Traditional parking lots are not provided for cemetery visitors.

Entrance Road

The entrance "boulevard" is a divided road, at least at its intersection with the approach road (public road), and preferably for its full length. Each side supports one-way traffic, with a passing lane. Entrance roads, if used as the Funeral Cortege Assembly Area, must be long enough and wide enough to accommodate waiting funerals without blocking access to the cemetery.

Primary Road

For the primary cemetery road, a main loop is desirable, allowing one to drive through the cemetery without turning around. Other configurations are possible depending on the specifics of the site. The primary road provides access to all other cemetery roads.

Secondary Road(s)

Secondary roads may be subordinate loops or connector roads. They provide access primarily to burial sections.

Service Road(s)

The following two types make up the network of service only roads within the cemetery roadway system:

  • Service entrance -- The road that provides access from the public road (approach road) directly to the cemetery administration/maintenance complex, if possible. Traffic consists of maintenance vehicles and delivery trucks.

  • Service drives to buildings -- The drives which provide access: (1) to the back of the committal service shelters, for removal of remains after the interment service, and (2) to wells, pump houses, etc. These driveways have no curbs and may use alternative paved surfaces in order to minimize their visual impact on the site. Traffic consists of cemetery maintenance vehicles.

Committal Service Shelter Drive

Separate drives should be provided for access and parking for each committal service shelter. A small loop drive, adjacent to the shelter, wide enough for parking three vehicles abreast, works well. The entire drive should accommodate an average of thirty vehicles. The layout of roads and shelters should allow for a cortege to proceed to the designated shelter without passing another funeral cortege on the road. Whenever possible, Committal Shelter drives should be accessed without driving by active burial operations.

Minimum Width and Minimum Radius

Entrance Road:

5.4 meters (18 feet), face to face of curb;
7.2 meters (24 feet), edge to edge, with no curb
15 meters (50 feet) minimum radius

Primary Road:

7.2 meters (24 feet), face to face of curb;
7.2 meters (24 feet), edge to edge, with no curb
9 meters (30 feet) minimum radius

Secondary Roads:

6 meters (20 feet), face to face of curb;
7.2 meters (24 feet), edge to edge, with no curb
9 meters (30 feet) minimum radius

Service Roads:

(1) Service Entrance:

7.2 meters (24 feet), face to face of curb;
7.2 meters (24 feet), edge to edge, with no curb
15 meters (50 feet) minimum radius

(2) Service to Buildings:

3 meters (10 feet), edge to edge, no curbs
9 meters (30 feet) minimum radius

Committal Service Shelter Drives:

8.1 meters (27 feet), face to face of curb;
9 meters (3 feet), edge to edge, with no curb;
Narrow to 3.6 meters (12 feet) at throat
9 meters (30 feet) minimum radius

Cortege Assembly Area

The Cortege Assembly Area is located adjacent to the Public Information Center, on or near the entrance road. It consists of one or more lanes for vehicles to line up before proceeding to the Committal Service Shelter. Access to the Public Informetersation Center with rest rooms from the Cortege Assembly Area is imperative. Funeral corteges average 30 vehicles with three persons per vehicle.