150 miles of roads to be resurfaced in Suffolk

Suffolk Highways begins its programme to resurface and surface dress 150 miles of new roads across 173 different sites across the county this year.

The two separate programmes provide new surfaces for vehicles to travel on, with the treatments expected to last between 5 and 20 years; depending on the type of treatment and volumes of vehicles using the roads amongst many other factors.

Road resurfacing is a process where the old surface is either overlaid with a new surface or removed to a certain depth and a new surface is applied, whereas surface dressing is a preventative process that is used to seal and improve the surface of the roads, slowing down the deterioration of the road surface and improving its skid resistance. The rapid speed of this process means that disruption to road users, local businesses and emergency services is minimised. The process involves an application of hot bitumen emulsion, followed by a layer of stone chips. Sites may be patched and prepared in advance of the surface dressing.

Following several trials across the UK, it has been demonstrated that the removal of some road markings can have a positive effect on road safety by reducing vehicle speeds. Therefore, road markings may not always be replaced like for like. This approach also supports the need for Suffolk Highways to reduce its ongoing maintenance liabilities.

As part of the surface dressing process, it is essential that once the road is reopened to traffic, the 20mph speed limit is adhered to, this avoids damage to vehicles and the slow-moving traffic further embeds the chippings. The road is swept at regular intervals to remove any excess chippings.

  • First sweep: within 24 hours after completion of the works
  • Second sweep: within 7 days after works are completed
  • Third sweep (if required): within 14 days of works being completed

Councillor Paul West, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for Ipswich, operational highways and flooding, said:

“Each year Suffolk Highways uses a range of data to identify a number of roads across our county that are in need of a new surface. This process covers over potholes, stops them from forming in future and provides a new surface for all to travel on.

“These programmes are extensive and weather dependent, so regular progress updates will be issued via Twitter @Suff_highways and on the Suffolk County Council website.

“I appreciate that these works can be disruptive to Suffolk residents, however these improvements do provide long term benefits to all and are very much welcome across the county.