Road schemes brought ahead of schedule

A scheme to improve the county’s road surfaces has proved so productive, work is starting on projects planned for next year.

Around 34 miles of roads were initially targeted for improvement in Northumberland County Council’s annual ‘surface dressing programme’.

The surface dressing works, covering approximately 300,000 square metres of carriageway, were due to be complete in August.

However, due to improved productivity and the recent spell of good weather, staff have delivered the planned work in just eight weeks.

Now the council is to use the remaining time and money to bring forward 11 schemes originally earmarked for next year.

Coun Ian Swithenbank, policy member for streetcare and the environment, said: “This is excellent news for everyone who uses our road network.

“We’re committed to doing everything we can to provide quality repairs in the most cost effective way but improvements to equipment and productivity have exceeded our expectations.

“This has meant we can get a head start on improving roads which may otherwise have had to wait until next year.”

Surface dressing is only used where the existing road surface has been worn over a period of several years. Usually there are minor surface cracks, allowing water to enter and cause damage which would reduce the skidding resistance of the road surface.

Surface dressing seals the cracks, protecting the underlying construction, and restores the surface texture and skidding resistance of the road.

The ideal time to surface dress is when the road may appear in good condition, which ensures a sound surface to accept the dressing, and when road surface temperatures are higher to ensure the chippings are retained.