Hampshire County Council’s annual surface dressing programme is underway, to prolong the life of Hampshire’s roads.
Surface dressing is when the road is sprayed with bitumen which provides a new waterproof seal to the road, and then a thin layer of stone chippings is applied to the surface to improve its skid resistance. It has to be applied to a dry surface, so the programme gets underway in earnest during the spring and summer months and lasts until the autumn.
Surface dressing is a cost effective preventative maintenance treatment that extends the life of the roads and ensures they stay in good condition for longer. By undertaking this programme of work it means the highways budget can be deployed across a greater proportion of Hampshire’s roads and footways with the more extensive treatments focusing on sites where greater road deterioration has occurred and full resurfacing is needed.
Throughout spring, gangs will be targeting sections of roads such as the A33 in Winchester, Farleigh Road in Basingstoke, Newbury Road in Andover, Hulbert Road in Havant, Oakmount Road in Eastleigh, Pulens Lane in Petersfield, plus many more.
Works are coordinated on busy roads at the quietest times, warning signs are put up in advance and leaflets are sent to nearby residents to try and keep delays to a minimum.
Around 140 miles of carriageways and footways are treated each year, helping prevent deterioration and potholes by sealing the surface to prevent water getting in and also improving grip for drivers. Potholes and other defects are treated ahead of the surface dressing work at each site, making the treatment a cost effective way of keeping roads in a good condition. Surface dressing needs to be carried out on average every ten years, depending on traffic volume and skid resistance requirements.
Although the chippings are rolled as part of the process, allowing traffic on the road immediately after treatment helps ‘bed in’ the chips. Loose chippings are swept from the carriageway within 24 hours and again after three to seven days. However, drivers should take care and keep to the temporary speed limits which are signed along roads which have been treated, as some loose chippings will still be on the road until swept up. Residents are also advised to inspect their shoes for any chippings which may be caught on them, before entering their homes or vehicles.