Motorists urged to go slowly when 'the chips are down'

26 July 2010

Motorists are being urged to drive carefully when ‘the chips are down’ as Northamptonshire County Council continues with its programme of surface dressing – one of a raft of measures being used to improve the county’s roads.

The authority along with its service provider MGWSP is carrying out the work to provide a cost-effective way of preserving and extending the life of highways in Northamptonshire.

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

The technique 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.

Cllr Heather Smith, county council cabinet member for transport, minerals and waste, said: “We’ve talked about how the heavy use of our roads and the severe winter weather has taken its toll on the highways and now we are getting to work on repairing that damage.

“In addition 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.

“Our roads are one of our most important assets – they need to be treated as such.”

Roads that have been identified as having early deterioration are treated in this way to stop any further, more extensive damage occurring.

Surface dressing as a maintenance process has three major aims:

  • To provide both texture and skid resistance to the road surface.
  • To stop the disintegration and loss of aggregate from the road surface.
  • To seal the surface of the road against ingress of water and thus protect its structure from damage.

In the next two weeks, surface dressing work is taking place at the following locations:

  • A509 - Isham to Harrowden
  • A510 - from A509 to Stewarts Road
  • B645 - Higham Ferrers to County Boundary
  • A4500 - Ecton Wellingborough Road
  • A4500 - Ecton Northampton Road
  • A43 - Lumbertubs Way Southbound from Round Spinney to St Gregory’s roundabout
  • A43 - Lumbertubs Way Northbound from Nene Valley Way to St Gregory’s roundabout
  • A5076 - Talavera Way from Round Spinney roundabout to Moulton Park


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