When the chips are down to protect the roads

Our annual programme of surface dressing to maintain and protect roads across the county is well under way.

surface dressing

Each year, the county council improves stretches of the county’s 9,000km of roads with a programme of surface dressing that runs from April and October.

Surface dressing offers a quick, efficient and cost-effective way of maintaining skid-resistant and waterproof road surfaces, helping to prevent deterioration. It involves spraying bitumen onto the road surface then covering it with a layer of chippings. The process can extend the life of a road by up to ten years.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said: “Surface dressing is comparatively low-cost at a fifth of the price of resurfacing. This means we can treat a much larger proportion of the road network each year, preventing the need for much more expensive work later.

“We know the process is unpopular with some drivers, mainly because of loose chippings, but the speed of the operation and its long-term benefits, as well as the short time for which motorists are inconvenienced, are important factors.

“It is important that traffic is allowed onto the new surface because chippings need traffic to fully push them into the road. However, it is also important that drivers keep to the speed limit to allow the surface to stabilise and to avoid damage to their vehicles. That is why we put in place a 20mph speed limit during the early life of the dressing.”

After dressing, the new surface is left for seven days to allow the chippings to embed then any residual chippings can be swept up before road markings are repainted.

Find our more about how we maintain the county's roads.

This story was published 3 May 2018