Surface dressing programme trebled in Nottinghamshire

Highways Reporters

Nottinghamshire County Council is restoring more than 50 miles of road surfaces across the county using surface dressing.

The low-cost treatment involves spraying on a coating of bitumen to waterproof, followed by one or more layers of stone chippings to restore skid resistance.

Around 600,000 square metres of road are surface dressed across the county each year during May and September.

But the council now plans to treat three times more roads than it did last year to help prevent potholes from forming.

The council said 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.

Coun Richard Jackson, chairman of the County Council's highways and transport committee said: "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.

"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.

"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.

"But what we can do is reduce the number and make the problem more manageable."
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