Surface dressing on county roads is underway

£2.7 million ‘surface dressing’ of more than 760,000 square metres of road

Surface dressing equipment in action

Highways teams across Leicestershire are in the midst of a £2.7 million summer maintenance programme of ‘surface dressing’ more than 760,000 square metres of road – the equivalent of more than 100 football pitches.

Over the next few weeks, motorists will notice the many roads they use every day being covered with a layer of chippings.

Surface dressing is applied in a moving ‘train’, where a tanker sprays bitumen binder on a clean, dry road surface, then stone chippings are spread from a chipper following behind.

After a second spread of chippings from another lorry, a rolling machine embeds the stones into the bitumen. While some loose stones can remain on the road surface for about a week, the council now has a sweeping programme in place following the new surface dressing to combat this.

Around 11,000 tonnes of stones will be used by our teams as they carry out this work across the county – that’s about the same weight as 28 jumbo jets!

Surface dressing is carried out throughout summer until the end of August, as the process relies on warm, dry weather to allow materials to embed into the road surface more easily. The programme is carefully planned across various key routes, with efficiency in mind. 

Benefits of surface dressing include:

  • Preventing potholes
  • Keeping roads waterproof
  • Improving road safety
  • Reducing fuel consumption for motorists
  • Reducing carbon emissions

Councillor Ozzy O'Shea, cabinet member for highways and transport said: “Surface dressing helps improve the condition of our roads across the county, saving the council money by proactively repairing surfaces, which helps to prevent more costly repairs further down the line.   

“Working hard to maintain and preserve more than 2,700 miles of road, our expert team ensures that Leicestershire motorists keep moving all year round.

“In our highways’ teams, planning ahead is hugely important - implementing surface dressing every summer helps to increase the lifespan of our roads by up to ten years.

“We thank our teams for working so hard on this operation but we also appreciate the support of residents, who help make our job easier when we work in their local areas.”   

Our programme of work doesn’t stop after the summer period – next, it’s time to start preparing roads for the harsher weather months, including gritting.

Leicestershire County Council’s YouTube channel has a step-by-step video of the surface dressing process 

The council's surface dressing page has more information on our programme for the year. 

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