23 July 2020
Northamptonshire County Council to begin extensive ‘surface dressing’ road repairs across the county

Northamptonshire County Council will begin its extensive ‘surface dressing’ road repairs across the county from Wednesday 29th July 2020. The work is being carried out by Northamptonshire Highways and will provide a cost-effective way of preserving and extending the life of highways in Northamptonshire.

Surface dressing involves bitumen being sprayed on to the road surface and overlaid by chippings which are rolled on to the surface. When the bitumen cools it sets and holds the chippings to the surface of the road.

Where surface dressing is scheduled in residential areas, people will receive a letter through their door notifying them of when the work will take place and kindly asking them to move their vehicles off roads and paths or to an adjacent street. Advisory signs will also be placed in the streets.

Cllr Jason Smithers, county council cabinet member for highways and place, said:  “Surface dressing allows us to carry out repairs to large areas of the highway in a very cost-effective way.

“This treatment seals and increases the texture of the surface of the road so that the surface is less susceptible to damage in the future. A good surface dressing treatment can last many years.

“It’s important that people move their vehicles off the street where work is taking place as it really helps get the best results.”

Surface dressing creates what are commonly known as loose chippings and as a result traffic is slowed to 20mph to reduce the danger of partially embedded chippings flicking up in the first few days.

Loose chippings are swept away within 24 hours of the initial dressing, and again within three days. A heavy roller is used after initial treatment and the surface is usually fully embedded after around a week, due to the action of traffic moving across it.

The carriageway is safe to drive on following application of the chippings, provided speeds remain below 20mph. For safety, people are advised to drive slowly, keeping their distance, and to avoid turning or braking sharply. Motorists should also avoid overtaking.

Surface dressing is dependent on fine weather and, as such, the programme of works is liable to change. Roads that have been identified as having early deterioration are treated in this way to stop any further, more extensive damage occurring.

More information and regular updates can be found on the Northamptonshire Highways Twitter page.

Please look out for our signs and diversions as there will be a full road closure during works. The date information and diversions can also be found on one.network. The programme may be affected by weather.

We are also promoting our works on the Northamptonshire Highways Twitter page and using the Road Surface Treatments Association film to explain the works.