There are two ways we maintain footpaths in Lancashire:
- Footpath slurry - when we apply a preventative treatment to extend the life of the footpath before it will need a full reconstruction
- Footpath reconstruction - when we remove all the old tarmac and replace with new tarmac
Footpath slurry is a preventative treatment that will extend the life of a footpath before it will need a full reconstruction. It is a very cost-effective way of significantly extending the life of a footpath that is starting to show signs of wear for up to 10 years.
Footpath slurry seal is a mixture of aggregates and bitumen emulsions that is mixed on site and once laid and set, it seals the footpath from water ingress that over time will weaken the foundations of the footpath.
Prior to undertaking the slurry sealing we will:
- inspect the footpath
- identify sections of footpath that have failed, and
- patch repair with new tarmac
Usually around 2 weeks before the slurry treatment is planned to start, the footpath will be treated with a weed killer to ensure all weeds have time to die back.
Immediately prior to starting the slurry sealing works, we will thoroughly clean the path using either an air blower or a high pressure water jet to remove all the dead weeds and loose material. At this point
- kerbstones and inspection covers will be temporarily covered with tape to prevent the slurry seal staining them
- we will need to close the section of footpath being treated and might have to temporarily restrict access to properties until the slurry seal has "set", which usually takes about 30 minutes
Finally, when the slurry seal has set we will remove the temporary protection tapes and reopen the footpath.
To see an example of slurry sealant being applied, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L9W_3pcBbI
Footpath reconstruction is when we remove all the old tarmac on the footpath and replace with new tarmac. It is the most expensive treatment and is only carried out when the footpath has become potentially unsafe to continue to use as it is.
To undertake footpath reconstruction we will need to close the footpath where the works are being carried out. Access to properties may be restricted at times, however we will always try to keep disruption to a minimum.
When carrying out this work we will sometimes need to:
- replace some or all of the kerbstones and the pin kerbs at the back of the footpath
- readjust some of the inspection covers to provide an even surface without trips
Prior to laying the new tarmac we will recompact the ground to ensure the footpath is firm and stable - ready to receive the new tarmac, then:
- the new tarmac is delivered to site in special insulated wagons
- it is placed whilst very hot, one layer at a time
- each layer is rolled to provide a compact smooth and even surface
How we prioritise which footpaths to maintain
Our footpath and road network is massive and the funding we get is less than we would like, so we need to use it wisely.
In 2014 a long-term plan (Transport and Asset Management Plan) was introduced. The plan says that preventative treatments like surface dressing is needed to address the rate of deterioration of the roads and footpaths, to ensure residents and visitors can continue to access work, shops, and amenities, and of course, to support our emergency services.
Our animation below shows how we use the ‘Plan’ to prioritise the roads and footpaths.