Changing weather makes road surfaces expand and contract, causing cracks which let in water and frost, which damage the surface and strength of the road.
Surface dressing helps extend the life of roads and provides a new skid-resistant surface to help reduce the risk of accidents.
A thin layer of bitumen and chippings is applied to the road, stopping water from penetrating the surface. This helps reduce the number of potholes forming when it freezes.
Surface dressing doesn’t smooth an already uneven road and it is not designed to strengthen the road.
The advantages of surface dressing are:
- The speed we can do the work
- Minimal traffic disruption
- Cost effective
Surface dressing work cannot be done in cold or wet conditions, so we carry out the work between April and September each year.
If no repairs are done the road structure could fail, leading to expensive and disruptive reconstruction work.
Our teams will carry out essential surface dressing work as long as it is safe to do. Work will initially be focused on rural roads to minimise disruption and contact with the public.
Our surface dressing is carried out by our private sector partners whose teams are keeping our roads well maintained and safe during this unprecedentedly difficult period. Our teams are working under extremely difficult conditions, following safety guidelines and practising social distancing wherever possible.
It is vital that our roads, verges and public rights of way are safe for use and that our depots and supply chains remain open, both during lockdown and as we emerge from this difficult period. We cannot afford to let our road structure deteriorate and an unmanageable backlog of maintenance work develop for the future.
Working on your road
If we are surface dressing your road, we will write to you giving you as much notice as possible.
We will not close the road to residents, but vehicle and pedestrian traffic will be managed for your safety and that of the workforce. Bin collections are normally unaffected.
If you have a vehicle, do not park on the road from 7am to 7pm on the day of the work and the day afterwards, when we will be sweeping. The clearer the road, the quicker we can finish the job. We cannot advise on alternative places to park.
A 20mph speed restriction will be in place during and immediately after the work for safety reasons.
Drivers should try to avoid sudden braking or steering manoeuvres. It’s also important that you don’t walk on the surface until the end of the work.
If you get bitumen on your shoes it should come off with white spirit, but we recommend testing on an inconspicuous area first.
There will be some loose chippings on the surface for a while and any road markings will be restored as soon as possible.
We’ll do our best to keep any inconvenience to a minimum.
You can report issues with surface dressing and damage to the road surface using our online form.