M.3.3 Cross-Section Sheets

Description This module instructs users how to create cross-section sheets from an Alignment. Users will learn:
  • How to create Named Boundaries that will be used to generate cross-section sheets.
  • The difference between drawing models and sheet models that are used during the sheet creation process.
  • How to add annotation to cross-section sheets - ready for printing.
  • Create cross-section sheets
  • Review cross-sections
  • Add a cross-section to a sheet model
  • Annotate cross-sections

Quick Steps

Create Cross-Section Sheets

Review Cross-Sections

Adjust Sheet Layout – Add Single Cross-Section

Deleting Cross-Section Sheets 

Place Labels (Annotation)

CTDOT Annotation Tools

Labeling and Annotation for Cross-Sections

Adjust the Existing Ground Dashed Line Display Settings

Create Cross-Section Sheets

All files for project contract plans: plans, profiles and cross-sections will reside in the Contract_Plans folder under the disciplines folder; example: project folder/Highways/Contract_Plans.

1. Create a design model that will be used to create the cross-section sheets for the project. Browse to the Contract_Plans folder to create a new 2D file using the file naming convention as described in the CTDOT-CONNECT-DDE Volume-016 Appendix/Section File-Naming (example: HW_CP_5678_5678_XSC_SR_14.dgn - created with the Seed2D – CT RoadDesign.dgn seed file). 

…CT_Configuration\Organization\Seed\Road\Seed2D - CT RoadDesign.dgn

2. Reference in the Master Model file, it resides in the Highways/Base_Models folder within the project folder, example: HW_CB_5678_5678_Master_Model.dgn. See the CTDOT CONNECT DDE Volume 3 - ORD Roadway Modeling - Module 1 - Creating Base Model Files

3. The Master Model is referenced using Live Nesting with a Nesting Depth of 1 to attach all other files: alignments, roadway design models, surveys, and terrains as well.


4. Select the existing terrain boundary and set it active. Then set up the display views to show View 1, Default and View 2, Default-3D. Save settings, this will also establish the Multi-Model views.


5. Select Drawing Production > Named Boundaries > Named Boundary > Place Named Boundary. A named boundary is a closed element that has a name associated with it.


6. The Place Named Boundary Civil Plan, Profile or Cross-Sections dialog box opens. Select the Civil Cross-Section mode. Set Drawing Seed to 5 Scale Contract XSC Sheet, this will also set the Detail Scale to 1" = 5'. 

The drawing seed defines default values and other important parameters required to create sheets. Selecting the drawing seed should always be the first step when creating named boundaries. The drawing seed has been set-up for the ANSI D size paper (34”x22”), and defaults include:

  • Options on Named Boundary for left and right offsets, section intervals, vertical exaggeration, and top and bottom clearances between sections (these can be changed if needed).
  • Options to Include Control Points, these are usually the PC’s, PI’s, PT’s of the horizontal alignment.
  • Options to Include Event Points Only, this will require the user to establish an Event Point List (drainage crossings as example).


7. Set the Group to (New). Set the Name: to match the alignment name, usually the Route Number or Street name (this name field will define the name of the Named Boundary Group) Example: SR 14 (for State Route 14). Clicking on the horizontal alignment will also populate this name field with the name of the horizontal alignment. 

9. Enable the Create Drawing option, so that the sheets are created as soon as the named boundaries are created. Enable the Show Dialog option, this dialog is used to override settings defined by the Drawing Seed if needed. 

10. In the 2D view (default plan view), select the alignment along which the named boundaries (sheets) will be created. The command line (lower left corner) will read: Place Named Boundary Civil Cross-Section > Identify Path Element. With the cursor select the horizontal alignment. Now a light blue line should be visible on the cursor. This allows the user to pick the start and stop locations of the named boundaries for cross-sections.

11. Select the desired Start Location. Follow the prompts. Command Line: Place Named Boundary Civil Cross-Section > Accept/Reject. Identify Path start point to place boundary.


12. Next select the Stop LocationCommand Line: Place Named Boundary Civil Cross-Section > Identify Path end point to place boundaryThe named boundaries are displayed interactively as the cursor moves. Accept the endpoint location for the named boundary. Command Line: Place Named Boundary Civil Cross-Section > Accept/Reject. Datapoint point in Plan View to place boundary. Identify Path end point to place boundary.  

13. The Create Drawing dialog box will appear. Ensure the Mode: is set to Cross-Section, Name: here the cross-section boundaries are named > this will name all drawing models and defaults to the station, example: 100+40.00, but can be named XSC-1 if desired. In the Drawing Model portion of the dialog set the Annotation Scale to 1” = 5’In Sheet Model portion of the dialog, set the Annotation Scale and the Detail Scale to 1” = 5’. 

14. Enable the Add to Sheet Index option. This option will be discussed later in this module. Enable the Open Model option.


15. Click OK to create the sheets. At the bottom of the view windows, a gage will appear showing the progress of Sheets Created and then the progress of Drawing Models Annotated. When all is completed the last cross-section sheet will be open.


Review Cross-Sections

There are several ways to review individual sheet models or drawing models. 

  • Manage View Group dialog
  • Named Boundaries dialog
  • Models dialog
  • Sheet Index

1. Click on the View Tab > Within the View Groups tools set and select any of the sheet models or drawing models. The same tool is also available in the Manage View Groups toolbox if docked on the bottom (it usually is). Each sheet model has drawing models for each section on the sheet model.


The Drawing Model is always 2D, is a subset of a 2D or 3D design model and is a direct reference of the named boundary area. The Drawing Model is used to apply annotations, dimensions and callouts to a design, examples: annotation for slopes, Edge of Road or Centerline elevations. The Drawing Model is then referenced into the Sheet Model. 

The Sheet Model is always 2D, serves as an electronic drawing sheet (printed sheet), typically has drawing model references that are scaled and positioned to create a printable drawing.  

For more information see OpenRoads Designer CONNECT Edition Help Menu.


NOTICE: There is a correlation between the Sheet Index, Manage View Groups, Named Boundaries and Models


2. Open and review a Sheet Model by selecting XX+XX.XX [Sheet] Views (example: 101+50.00 [Sheet] Views) and then select Apply.

TIP: You can also double-click on any model in the list to open it as well.

The Sheet Model for the sections will open. Notice the border cell is placed at 0,0 axis, the named boundary shape and all design models are referenced.  The project number, project description and town name(s) will be automatically populated from the CONNECTED Project, the Drawing Title will be populated with the text entered in the Model Description Field. For more detailed information see this volume: Section 1 – Introduction - The Contract Border Title Block Integration.


3. Open and review the Drawing Models for cross-section sheet by selecting the drawing views for the cross-section sheet (example:  for 101+50.00 [Sheet] Views select 101+50 Views) and then selecting Apply. (Or double click on the view) 


The Drawing Model for the cross-section will open. Notice there is only one cross-section in the drawing model, it shows a grid with elevation and offsets, it shows the existing terrain and proposed design, and has annotation for station, slopes and call outs for Edge Of Road and Center Line. Cross-Section annotation should be done in the drawing model. 

Review the remaining Sheet Models by using the same steps described above.  Become familiar how to navigate between the various drawing and sheet models.

Adjust Sheet Layout – Add Single Cross-Section

Sometimes it becomes necessary to add a cross-section at one particular station that does not fall on the interval stations of the cross-section creation, this can be done if necessary. 

As an example:  A driveway was not on the original survey (Terrain) and added later.  The design model (corridor) was updated to include the driveway, but the cross-section drawing models and sheet models do not include this added driveway.  The particular cross-section sheet model for the project has room to add the driveway cross-section.

NOTE: This should only be done if necessary and the drawing models can be adjusted to allow for the additional drawing model onto the sheet model.  If more additional cross-sections are needed, it may be necessary to redo the cross-section plan production and add an event point list.


Adjustments to the sheet layout are made in the reference attachments. 

1. Use the View Group tool to select the cross-section sheet view (sheet model) to add the additional section drawing model, example: 101+50.00 [Sheet] Views.

2. Select Home > Primary > Attach Tools > References.  In the References dialog there are references for each cross-section drawing model, select the drawing model attachment for the section that will be moved, example: (Logical) 102+50-1, for the dgn-file: HW_CP_5678_5678_XSC_SR_14.dgn, see the dash-dot outline around the cross-section.


3. Click on the ‘Move Reference’ command to activate, then click on the Named Boundary (cross-section drawing model), this will allow the reference to be moved (should be highlighted) and are “attached” to the cursor, move to the desired location within the sheet outline.

TIP:  It helps to activate Accudraw for this command, first deactivate Civil Accudraw if active.



4. Left click to accept the new reference location.  Turn of Accudraw, if activated.


5.  Set the View Group to Multi-Model Views, once more.  Using drawing tools create a line across the alignment where the cross-section is to be cut.  Example: centerline of driveway at Sta.102+34.00 about the same length as the named boundaries lines of the other sections.


6. Create a single Cross-Section Drawing Model. Select Drawing Production > Named Boundaries > Named Boundary > Place Named Boundary.

7. In the Place Named Boundary Civil Cross-Section dialog, select Civil Cross-Section 2 Points.  This command will create a cross-section along a path (alignment) from a line crossing the alignment.  Set the Drawing Seed to 5 Scale Contract XSC Sheet.  Select the Group from the previous groups (example: SR 14).  Check ON the Create Drawing option and the Show Dialog option.


8. Follow the prompts: Place Named Boundary Civil Cross-Section 2 Points > Identify Path Element (this is the horizontal alignment, example: SR 14); > Enter first point (click on the first point of the line, should be to the left of the alignment); > Enter second point (click to the end point of the line to the right of the alignment) > Accept/Reject. Data point in Plan View to place boundary.  The single cross-section boundary is placed in the 2D view and 3D view.


8. The Create Drawing box comes up, set the following: Mode: Cross-Section; Name: automatically fills in (example: 102+34.00); Drawing Seed: 5 Scale Contract XSC Sheet; all Scales should be 1” = 5'; Check ON Open Model, but check OFF Add To Sheet Index; Click Ok.


9. The new single cross-section sheet will open, with the single cross-section drawing model referenced in.  Open the references dialog to review the sheet and drawing models, example View 1, 102+34.00 [Sheet] and referenced drawing model 102+34.00.


10.  This drawing model must now be referenced into the prepared sheet model.  Open the prepared sheet model, example: View 1 101+50.00 [Sheet].  Open the references dialog.  Attach the drawing model by referencing into the contract plans cross-section file, example: HW_CP_5678_5678_XSC_SR_14.dgn.  Reference Attachment Properties settings as follows (should be the same settings as the other cross-section drawing models for this sheet):  cross-section drawing models for this sheet):

  • Model: pick the added cross-section (102+34.00)
  • Logical Name: should populate to added cross-section (102+34.00)
  • Orientation: Coincident – Aligned with Master File
  • Detail Scale: 1” = 5”
  • Nested Attachments: Live Nesting
  • Nesting Depth: 99


11. Click Ok.  The drawing model is attached, it may be necessary to move the drawing model into the right position.


12. For the drawing model to be shown in the sheet index, refresh the sheet index.

13. Click on the Models icon to open the dialog.  Here the sheet model for the added cross-section needs to be deleted.  Select the sheet model (example: 102+34.00 [Sheet]), click on the Delete model(s) button.


 Deleting Cross-Section Sheets

Sometimes it is necessary to delete sheets. There are multiple parts to a sheet.  

  • The Named Boundary that defines the boundaries of what is shown in the cross-sections  
  • The Drawing Models for annotation and dimensioning  
  • The Sheet Models with the electronic drawing sheets – printed sheets   

To completely delete the sheets, these all need to be deleted. 

TIP: When it becomes necessary to delete sheets depending on the number of sheets for your project, it may be easier to create a new design model and start over and only delete the cross-section sheets from the sheet index.    

1. Select Home > Primary > Models.  Select all of the Drawing and Sheet models for the cross-section views; example: 100+40.00 and 100+40.00 [Sheet], 100+50.00 and 100+50.00 [Sheet], 101+00.00 and 101+00.00 [Sheet], and so on (click on the first model, hold down the shift key and scroll to the last model, but leaving Default and Default-3D).  Click Delete Model(s). An Alert box may open, Click Yes.  Close the Models dialog.



NOTICE: The sheet models are also deleted from the sheet index.

2. Delete the Named Boundaries for all Cross-Section Sheets.  Open the Drawing Production > Named Boundaries Named Boundaries dialog.  

3. Expand the Cross-Section Groups folder.  Click on the Cross-Section group, example: SR 14.  In the Default-3D view all cross-section named boundaries should be highlighted.  Click on the delete icon.


4. An Alert appears confirming the Named Boundaries and their associated saved views will be deleted.  Click on Yes.  Every boundary is deleted, review the Default and Default-3D views, if boundaries still visible, refresh the view.

Place Labels (Annotation)

As explained previously OpenRoads Designer includes the MicroStation Place Label tool which can read civil object data.  Labels are associated with elements and can update and move as the reference element changes.  Reference elements can be located in the active file or in a reference.  The Place Label tool is used for call-outs.

There are four terms: Text Style, Dimension Style, Text Favorite and Field; that you should become familiar with when placing and editing labels; to learn more see the Place Labels (Annotation) section in the M.3.2 Plan and Profile Sheets Module in the CTDOT CONNECT DDE Guide Volume 13 – Contract Plans Production.

Labels can be placed for plan, profile, and cross-sections objects.

  • Cross-Section labels must be placed in Drawing models.
  • General Notes for cross-sections should be placed in the sheet model.

Along the bottom of the Place Note or Place Label toolbox are three icons that define how the label behaves: Annotation Lock - Association to Element - Relative Association to Element

Labels created in OpenRoads have three parts: Leader, Text, and Anchor Point. Labels created in MicroStation only have the first two parts.

This module will cover some of the labeling tools, but not all.  For more detailed descriptions and instructions go to the Bentley ORD Help Menu.

CTDOT Annotation Tools

The CT_CONNECT_DDE workspace has been set-up to ease the annotation for cross-section sheets, adjustments and additions are added periodically to the workspace.

Select the CTDOT workflow and click the CTDOT Tab.  Here are tools set-up for each discipline and for various subject matters, these annotation tools have been discussed in detail in the previous Module: Place Labels (Annotation) section in the M.3.2 Plan and Profile Sheets Module


These annotation tools have been set-up with appropriate attributes (level, color, line style, text style, dimension style) these should not be changed by the user.

Labeling and Annotation for Cross-Sections

For cross-section annotation a lot of automation has been set up for the user.  When creating the cross-sections drawing models the following annotation will be placed:

  • Station
  • Breakpoints: Edge Of Road, Shoulder, Elevation (centerline or baseline)
  • Slopes within roadway in %
  • Slopes of cut and fill in H:V



Adjust the Existing Ground Dashed Line Display Settings

It is CTDOT’s standards to show the existing ground display as a dashed green line on the cross-section sheets.  There is a setting that needs to be adjusted after the sheets are created so the dashed line shows up properly on the Cross-Section Sheets.

Please Note: This will be done after the Place Named Boundary Civil Cross-Section tool is used to cut and create the cross-section sheets.

  1. Open the 3D Model that houses the Cross-Section’s Named Boundaries.

    Cross Section Named Boundaries in 3D Model

  2. Click on the Element Selection Icon.  In the Element Selection dialog box choose the Down Arrow to Show Extended Settings.  Click on the Element Class tab and select the Element Class Construction.

    Element Selection of Construction Class Elements

  3. In the Properties dialog box select all the Named Boundaries at once.  Change the Back Depth to -.001.

    Properties dialog box Adjusting the Back Depth of a Named Boundary

  4. Open several Cross-Sections Sheet Models to view the correction made to the existing ground dashed lines.  Below is a screen shot of a pdf showing the before and aftereffects of applying the adjustment.

35-PDF Image Before and After Adjustment