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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

Dressing up the roads network

Road improvements are happening across our county this summer on a scale that’s mind-blowing.

Surface dressing is ‘chips with everything’. Stone chips.

It’s definitely something that you’ve seen on roads near you and (in this most financially chaste of times) it’s comparatively affordable AND puts a decade’s more life on the roads it’s used on.

For those of us who are not civil engineering types, we know it as those small stone chips that are put down on the road meaning a drop in the speed limit for a bit. In short, it’s very useful when we’re talking about a way to make struggling roads better to drive on.

And because of those positives around surface dressing, the people who look after the roads in our County are currently working on a resurfacing scheme the size of which is jaw-dropping.

Now underway, LCC Highways is actioning £5 million worth of surface dressing for Lincolnshire that will run through to the end of July (ish) - it might be a bit longer than that if the weather turns a bit soggy, or gets extremely hot again.

The headline figures have it as £5 million being spent. At 150 sites. In a bit over 40 days. That’s a gigantic covering of a lot of our huge rural roads network.

In total, there’s 137 miles of Lincs roads getting the stone chip makeover – that's enough to cover a road running from Lincoln to Liverpool.

21,000 tonnes of material are going to be put down to extend the life of the roads in a much more resilient way than simple pothole patching. Surface dressing is an effective way to make roads good and it’s more environmentally-friendly than you may think, too.

12,000 tonnes of that original 21 will be recycled aggregate (basically, sweepings from the road that come from last season’s works).

Cllr Richard Davies, Executive member for Highways is a big fan of surface dressing and says that the summer season will be a boost for many: “It’s one of the real hero methods for getting more life out of a road with a fraction of the cost of having to dig a road up and rebuild it.

“And because of that, we get to get more return for our money. It’s so cost-effective that surface dressing in this way comes in at just 1/10th what we’d spend on alternative materials to achieve a similar result.

“It’s much quicker to lay, too.”

A staggering 30,000 square metres can be laid in just one day (that’s around two-and-a-half time as big as Trafalgar Square) and – probably the best bit – the works don’t always require a full road closure.

“With the programme we have planned across the summer we will get roads that are better to drive on, last longer and are easier to maintain. The surface dressing will also help to prevent or reduce pothole proliferation and it seals the surface from water, which makes the whole road more resilient.

“So surface dressing is a vitally important part of how we are working on maintaining the roads network in as financially efficient a way as possible. And the scale on which we are putting these measures into practice over the summer will give Lincolnshire a big boost ahead of next winter.”

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