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Work to improve road surfaces gets underway

Work to prevent potholes and prolong the life of Lancashire’s roads is now underway.

And details of Lancashire County Council’s £4m surface dressing programme will be updated every week on the council’s website.

Surface dressing is just one part of a £26m programme of road maintenance taking place this year, along with full resurfacing schemes, patching and pothole repairs.

It’s a quick process which involves a layer of bitumen emulsion and chippings being applied to the surface. This seals the road and stops water getting in, helping to prevent potholes which form when any moisture in the road freezes, expands, and causes cracks. A roller is used to compact the loose chippings into the bitumen, but this process is actually finished by traffic using the road.

County Councillor Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Surface dressing is a treatment that we use to extend the life of roads which are still in reasonably good overall condition. Every road will eventually get to the point where it needs to be fully resurfaced, but this is a quick and cost-effective treatment, and can extend the life of a road for around 10 years.

“This is an area of highway maintenance where we have taken advantage of improvements in technology by using the data gathered from camera surveys to target this treatment at the optimum point in the lifecycle of a road.

“In the months before we carry out this treatment our highways teams will already have patched up any significant damage, and the surface dressing then seals it all together. On top of the surface dressing itself, we’ve already invested around £2m in this pre-patching work.

“We’ll need to put in place road closures whenever we carry out surface dressing, and would ask people to bear with us while we do this vital maintenance. We’d also ask that people take note of the ‘no parking’ signs that are put out before the work begins, and avoid walking on the newly laid surface as far as possible until it has hardened.

“We do this type of work in the summer as it can only be done in fine weather. We’re publishing details of the programme every Friday as, by then, we’ll have a good idea of our plans for the next week based on the forecast. Our aim is to help residents and businesses plan around the work and minimise disruption as far as possible.”

After surface dressing has been completed, the road is swept 24 hours later to remove loose chippings, with a final sweep being carried out after two weeks. In the interim, signs are put up asking drivers to stick to 20mph to stop vehicles being damaged by loose chippings. The road is then ready for any road markings to be repainted.

County Councillor Iddon added: “Our roads have suffered due to the winter being colder and wetter than average, however we’re now making the most of the summer weather to bring them back into better condition.

“We’ve set aside £13m of the budget for road maintenance to carry out small scale repairs to potholed and damaged areas, with the rest for planned maintenance such as surface dressing and resurfacing which renews roads and helps prevent potholes appearing in the first place.”

You can find the schedule of work by searching for ‘surface dressing’ at www.lancashire.gov.uk.

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