Dorset Council’s road surface dressing plans for this summer

Roadworks machine
Photo by Elliott Brown (CC by 2.0)

Dorset Highways will soon begin an annual refresh of Dorset’s roads.

In its commitment to maintaining and prolonging the lifespan of local roads, Dorset Council has unveiled plans for road surface dressing in specific areas. This operation forms a crucial part of the council’s annual road maintenance programme, alongside initiatives such as patching, micro-surfacing, in-situ recycling, road preservation, and resurfacing.

The council has assured that work will be carried out between the hours of 5am and 6pm.

Letters have been sent to farms, schools, and businesses in the affected areas, providing information on road closures, suspension of on-street parking, and any necessary diversions during these hours.

Which areas are affected?

Later this June and early July, the following areas will be subjected to surface dressing:

From Monday 26 June

From Monday 3 July

More areas are being added to this roadworks map.

What is surface dressing?

Surface dressing is a valuable procedure that aims to extend the life of roads by creating a waterproof seal, while simultaneously improving skid resistance. Approximately 400,000m² (around 95 miles) of road will be treated with surface dressing this year.

It’s a fast and efficient process where a bitumen binder is sprayed onto the road to shield it from water damage. Stone chippings are then scattered onto this layer to restore grip, before being compacted down with a roller. This allows drivers to use the road as soon as the work is completed, with slow-moving vehicles aiding in further embedding the stone chippings.

Within 48 hours, a sweeper will traverse the road to clear any immediate surplus stone, with line markings reinstated shortly afterwards.

It’s important to note that surface dressing relies on the evaporation of water from the bitumen binder (or glue) to set. This means the work can only be conducted in dry weather and cannot take place at night due to the necessary evaporation process. Moreover, no work will be carried out over the weekend or on Bank Holidays.

As the work is weather-dependent, residents are encouraged to keep an eye out for yellow advance warning signs in their area, which will provide the most accurate information regarding the schedule.

Through this initiative, Dorset Council continues its mission to ensure that the county’s roads remain safe, durable, and fit for purpose for all residents and visitors.

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