Road maintenance

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We carry out road surface dressing work from May to August and the reconstruction of roads throughout the year.

Last year we surface dressed or resurfaced 194km of road.

Reducing carbon

We're keen to reduce the carbon impact of our works and for our 2022/23 carriageway capital programme. By using recycled and other low carbon materials and processes, we will save 267 tonnes of CO2e (Carbon Dioxide equivalent). This is a 15% saving overall, equivalent to 1,342,048 miles driven by an average car.

Find out more in our Highways Decarbonisation Strategy including the carbon saving dashboard of the budget, carbon consumption and savings made.

Find out more about how we have been reducing our carbon emissions through our ex situ carriageway recycling scheme in this short video:

See how we are using a new process incorporating recycled rubber tyres to resurface roads:

How we prioritise which roads to maintain

Our road and footpath network is massive and the funding we get is less than we would like, so we need to use it wisely.

The animation below shows how we prioritise roads and footpaths. 

Preventative treatments

We need to use preventative treatments like surface dressing to:

  • address the rate of deterioration of the roads and footpaths,
  • ensure residents and visitors can continue to access work, shops, and amenities,
  • support our emergency services. 

More information is in our long-term plan (Transport and Asset Management Plan), which was introduced in 2014.

Since 2014 and the introduction of preventative treatment, the total miles of roads that need resurfacing for the ABC network has reduced by approximately 72%.

Treatment types

Surface dressing is a cost effective way of maintaining a road. It restores skidding resistance and seals the road surface to prevent water ingress

  1. Hot bitumen is sprayed onto the road
  2. Chippings are then applied and rolled in
  3. The road is then swept to remove excessive chippings

Our Road Maintenance Service will carry out carriageway surface dressing work as scheduled.

Micro surfacing is a type of surface treatment that is used to prolong the life of a road by 10 to 15 years.

Micro surfacing is quicker, less noisy and cleaner than traditional resurfacing because it is not necessary to remove large volumes of existing carriageway surface.

The micro surfacing process is as follows:

  1. First the road will be swept clean
  2. The surface will then be sprayed with a bitumen binder
  3. This will be followed by the application of a layer of stone chippings
  4. These chippings will be pressed into the bitumen binder by a road roller
  5. All lining, including disabled bay and resident H-bar markings, will be replaced 14 days after the work has been fully completed

Road resurfacing is when part of the old road surface is removed by a process known as ‘planing’ or milling.

Resurfacing is a major road works and we will often have to undertake this work with full or partial road closures. We will always provide advanced notice of this and arrange for plenty of signage of the safest diversion route.

Depending on the existing condition of the road, we will either:

  • remove the top layer, approximately 4cm thick, or 
  • remove a further layer, which would be another 6cm thick

When we have finished the planing, we will:

  • often adjust the levels of the gullies and inspection covers to improve the smoothness or drainage of the road
  • clean the road with a special road sweeper, and
  • spray a bitumen emulsion over it which acts as a "glue" to bond the new tarmac to it

The new tarmac is delivered in special insulated wagons and placed whilst hot onto the road using a specialist tarmac laying machine, called a paver, that spreads the tarmac at a uniform width and thickness along the road. Then:

  • we roll the tarmac to compact it and provide a smooth even driving surface
  • the tarmac needs to cool for a while 
  • the road can be reopened to traffic

Road markings are sometimes replaced prior to the road reopening to traffic, although sometimes they are replaced at a later date for operational reasons.

Upcoming programme of works

Residents - what you need to know when we are working on your road

If you live on a road where we are carrying out resurfacing or surface dressing, you should receive a letter prior to the works taking place. The letter will inform you about what precautions you should take.

Signs will provide information about the date and time of work.

When we put the 'No Parking' signs and cones out. You will be able to return your vehicle outside our working hours, but we need the road to be clear whilst we are working on the highway. 

We will try to contact you first, but if we are unable to contact you and the vehicle has to be towed away, unfortunately this may be at your cost.

Our works may create dust.

From the working area for their safety. 

There will be 'speed reduction' signs in place for the duration of the work and until the final sweep has taken place. We advise that you keep to the indicated speed limit until the signs are removed.

Check your shoes for bitumen before entering your car or home and take off your shoes at home if necessary.

If you get bitumen on your clothes or shoes, it can be removed with a proprietary cleaner.

In the case of business premises, we are obliged to maintain access, but as there are no practical ways in which we can cover the treated surfaces and cannot prevent people from walking on them, we suggest you place a temporary covering inside your premises.