SPRING is here and Nottinghamshire County Council will shortly be restoring over 50 miles of road surfaces across the county using surface dressing – a low-cost treatment of spraying on a coating of bitumen to waterproof followed by one or more layers of stone chippings to restore skid resistance.
Surface dressing is up to ten times cheaper than other methods of repairing roads, causes minimum traffic disruption and can be laid quickly.
Around 600,000 square metres of road are surface dressed each year during May and September when the weather conditions are at their best to get the job done.
This year the Council is hoping to start work in April and will be treating three times more roads than it did last year – a move that will significantly help prevent potholes from forming.
The main advantage of surface dressing is that:
It prevents water from seeping into the road foundation and weakening it, reducing the chances of potholes developing and delaying the need for complete rebuilding of a road
It is up to ten times cheaper than other methods of restoring road surfaces
It provides a good resistance to skidding on smooth or slippery roads
Traffic can be allowed to run on the new surface almost immediately, avoiding lengthy closures and disruption
The speed with which it can be laid reduces delays to traffic.
“We have an extra £1m in our highways capital maintenance budget this year so we can do more preventative work to make roads last even longer,” says Coun Richard Jackson, the county council’s cabinet member for highways and transport.
“There’s a huge misconception that surface dressing is something we do because we can’t afford to do the job “properly”. That’s just not true.
“What surface dressing allows us to do is catch a road half-way through its lifespan and give it an extension. It’s something that we’ve done for years but the technology has improved.
“The bitumen which is sprayed now contains polymers which help hold the chippings in place a lot better and on busier roads we now use two sizes of stone so that they interlock better for a stronger better surface.”
Together this greatly reduces the incidence of loose chippings although people still need to drive at 20mph over such surfaces for the first 24 hours. Treated roads are swept after then initial 24 hours, then again after a week and again after a month.
“Surface dressing won’t stop potholes as they’ll always be the problem due to the inconsistency of the original road surface and the fact that water can get in locally and cause damage,” says Coun Jackson.
“But what we can do is reduce the number and make the problem more manageable.”