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The roads that are maintained by the State Governments are called State Highways. The construction and management of the state highways are looked after by a separate department called Public Works Department (PWD).

As the name itself suggests, the state roads that is state highways connect all important cities and towns and also district headquarters in the state; and, they have to connect with the National Highways also. It means that the inter-state connectivity is made possible by the National Highways.

The road connectivity is one of the top necessities for any nation to promote its economy and sustain it. Of course, for tourism also the road connectivity is inevitable and the better the road, the better the pleasure of the travellers or better the profit for the commercial users.

As of 20 July 2017, the total length of state highways of Tamil Nadu was 5381 kms.

Tamil Nadu State Highways Network has seven circles: Chennai, Villupuram, Madurai, Salem, Tiruchirappalli, Coimbatore, and Tirunelveli.  There are road stretches that fall much within the state limits and they are generally known as State Highways Urban.

Then next in the downward scale, we have district roads which are classified into major and minor district roads. Where the traffic intensity is high, they are called major roads and where the traffic is not intense, they are called minor district roads. Indeed, there are very clear parameters used in classifying district roads as major and minor.  To give a layman example: there a road A and another one B.   About 100 cars pass through at a given patch of the road A in about, say, ten minutes; in the road B for the same time and for the same length of a patch, just 10 cars only pass through, then we say the traffic is intense in the road A and it is not intense in the road B; Now, easily, road A becomes a major district road and another one, a minor district road.

Next we have village roads. They connect nearby villages and they may lead to town or connect with district roads. Usually, the traffic on the village roads is low and very often, the quality of the roads is low and poor.

We have seen the different classifications of roads. And in our next session, we shall briefly look into the types of roads. 

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