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The following document provides details of plans for surface dressing over the current year:

What is surface dressing?

Surface dressing involves spraying bitumen emulsion (a sticky tar-like substance) onto a prepared road surface. Stone chippings are then spread over the surface. It is then rolled to allow the stones to embed into the bitumen. Some loose stones will remain on the road surface. This is why it is vital that people follow the onsite speed restrictions.

The weight of vehicles passing over these loose chippings will help to embed them into the bitumen to finish the new road surface. For a successful surface dressing it needs to be applied in warm dry weather. For this reason work is usually carried out between May and August.

When will the loose chippings be swept away?

Once surface dressing application is completed, we will undertake sweeps after 24 hours, seven days and 28 days.

Why do we surface dress?

There are a number of reasons why we surface dress roads. This includes:

  • to improve the skid resistance of the road
  • to seal and waterproof the road
  • to extend the life of the road so that major intrusive works are not required. Surface dressing can prolong the life of a road by over ten years.

Surface dressing is a very cost effective process which enables us to treat more roads and make our budgets go further.

It is a very quick treatment as it is undertaken at walking pace. One kilometre of road can be treated within two hours. Other treatment options would take weeks.

It can be more sustainable as we can reuse materials to help conserve natural resources.

When will the road markings and studs be replaced?

Road markings will be replaced no later than 28 days after the surface dressing application. Critical marks such as stop lines, crossroad junctions and give way markings on roundabouts will be repainted the same day as the treatment. All give way markings are masked before surface dressing application. This masking is then removed after treatment so that there are still give way markings on site.

Does surface dressing create road noise?

It is true that a little more tyre noise can be produced following the surface dressing. This reduces as the road is driven on and the chippings are further embedded.

Why are there 20mph signs?

Immediately after application, the integrity of surface dressing is vulnerable to fast moving and turning traffic. Therefore, we ask that you keep you speed below 20mph. Driving faster than this may cause the failure of chippings to embed properly into the bitumen emulsion. Driving at increased speeds over loose chippings also increases the risk of vehicle damage such as cracked windshields and chipped paintwork.

Why are you back if a road was only resurfaced a few years ago?

Surface dressing is often carried out as part of the road’s life cycle. After a resurfacing or large patching scheme has taken place, the ingress of water into the road will be greatly reduced. Over the years, as the surfacing materials are exposed to weathering and traffic, more water can get into the road pavement layers. Water is the enemy of a road as in the winter the freeze/thaw cycle can lead to the formation of potholes. Surface dressing seals the road and waterproofs it helping to prevent any deterioration and extending that road's life.

Will the road be checked following surface dressing?

The road will be inspected by an engineer after 24 hours and seven days.

What would stop surface dressing taking place?

Surface dressing is a weather dependent process. We need a dry road and a warm day to undertake the treatment. Due to the unpredictable weather we sometimes have to postpone works. If this happens you will be informed. On site signs will be changed and the website will be updated.

The yellow sign on site just says week commencing not an exact date. Why is this?

Due to the nature of the weather, it is important for us to build in some contingency to the surface dressing programme. You will receive a letter from our contractors Balfour Beatty with a more exact expected date of application.

What to do on the day of a resurface of your road

On the day of your road resurface you will need to:

  • park your vehicle away from the surface dressing area where possible
  • obey any onsite signs until they have been removed
  • let us know if there is an issue with excessive loose chippings following treatment

Why does the road need to be closed for surface dressing?

To treat the road surface in an effective and timely manner we need to close the road. This gives us a sterile, controlled environment free from other vehicles to apply the treatment. We acknowledge that this will cause some inconvenience for residents and business. Every measure possible is taken to keep this to a minimum.

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