All you need to know about resurfacing

Two workers resurfacing a road

Why do you use surface dressing? 

Surface dressing remains the most cost effect solution in the road maintenance industry and as the process is quick, does not include the removal and disposal of existing surface materials, nor the reintroduction of new bituminous material it is considered more ‘environmentally friendly’ as compared to traditional plane and surface techniques.

The process seals the surface (preventing further potholing) and improves the skidding properties significantly. It is key to Wakefield maintaining its roads both structurally and in a safe manner.

How do you assess roads for surface dressing?

The roads are assessed to ensure they are right for this treatment and the contractors design the chipping size and specification based on the classification, volume of traffic and speed – single dressing/dual dressing/racked in/binder type and rate. If the road has deteriorated beyond what we believe is suitable for dressing then dressing will not be used. The roads selected are pre patched and potholes repaired before the dressing is applied if necessary.

How do we decide which roads to resurface?

All adopted roads are subject to safety inspections and the frequency of these inspections is determined by the category of the road. All defects that are recorded or reported are categorised and prioritised for repair as per guidelines set out the Code of Good Practice for Highway maintenance 2005.

What follow-up precautions are taken after the surface dressing has been applied?

The roads are swept after the initial application within 24 hrs and then again within 14 days. Advanced warning signs are placed on site and diversion routes signed if required. Advisory speed limits of 20 mph are also signed.

Do you monitor feedback in regard to resurfacing and surface dressing?

It is noted that a small number of complaints are generated annually as a result of this programme, but that is replicated nationally.

How far is the contractor held accountable for the resurfacing process?

The contractor is responsible for masking the gullies and clearing any materials that do gain access – again this is monitored. Operationally the performance of the contractors is monitored and reported to the YHA framework manager. Internally we have a dedicated resource assigned to this contract. 

Why we use each different types of surface treatment?

Different surface treatments are used according to all the circumstances of the road, such as the current condition, how busy the road is and the most efficient treatment for the future, how many years of good condition will result from the money spent on the treatment. 

Surface Dressing is used where the surface is in reasonably good condition, but needs some quick, overall improvement which can last up to ten years. We can cover a large area very quickly at relatively low cost. We use Surface Dressing on most of our surfacing programme.

Micro-surfacing is a slightly more durable and more expensive process which places a thin layer of a complete new surface on the road. It takes longer to cover a given area than Surface Dressing, but is used where roads are busier, and the road needs more levelling off.

Machine resurfacing is where the existing surface is removed and completely new depth of surface is laid as a replacement. This treatment is used where the road is badly worn and needs to take perhaps heavy traffic and last a long time. It is expensive and slow.

Recycling is only used in limited areas where the road is very badly out of shape. A very durable new surface can be laid, and logistics make it easier to re-use existing materials rather than bring in new stone. It is marginally more expensive treatment per area covered than resurfacing or other treatments.

Do we resurface pavements? 

We resurface and reconstruct our pavements and kerbs when necessary, depending on their condition, usage and any defects. We use a variety of treatments, from applying a thin surface, such as slurry sealing, to a full reconstruction.

How long will resurfaced roads last?

Resurfacing with hot bitumen will last for approximately 10 to 20 years dependent on the volumes of traffic using the road. Surfacing with micro-asphalt can be expected to last between 5 and 10 years.

Our highways in numbers

  • 1,454km of roads
  • 1,944 km of footways
  • 150km of cycle lanes and tracks
  • 521km of footpaths and bridleways
  • 230 bridges and structures
  • 227 traffic signal junctions and crossings
  • 18,000 traffic signs
  • 46,500 streetlights and illuminated signs
  • 62,000 gullies (drains)

Contact Us

Highways and Engineering PO Box 700 Wakefield One Burton Street Wakefield WF1 2EB

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