Surface dressing season underway on Shire roads

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Aberdeenshire Council’s summer programme of surface dressing works is now underway across the area and motorists are being warned of the risks of loose chips on newly dressed roads.

Surface dressing is used as an effective and cost-efficient way to further the lifespan of roads.

The technique of laying hot bitumen followed by chippings works to seal the road surface and also provides better grip for vehicles.

However, surface dressing requires motorists to take extra care and reduce speed when passing over treated sections of carriageway as there is a short-term heightened risk of skidding.

To ensure no bare patches are left, more chips are laid than are required for the finished job.

Although the newly dressed road is mechanically swept a number of times after being treated, it takes several days for chips to embed fully into the bitumen.

The slow passing of traffic over a newly dressed road is beneficial as it helps speed up this process.

However, when motorists do not adhere to speed restrictions and drive at excessive speed, loose chips can prove hazardous.

Warning signs advising of surface dressing works are always erected prior to work starting, and remain in place for several days after the work has been carried out.

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Councillor Peter Argyle, said: “Road users around Aberdeenshire will be well aware of some of the work required to repair our roads following a couple of spells of severe weather over the winter and now is the time to start that work as it is weather dependent.

“With the money available to spend on our extensive road network of around 3,400 miles, surface dressing is the most cost efficient way of improving and protecting our roads, and though clearly it inconveniences people through road closures, restrictions and the need to slow down, it is the best option available to ensure our roads are in optimum condition.

“The inconvenience is relatively short lived while the treatment provides a long term rejuvenation of the road surface and protects it from structural damage through water ingress.

“While it sometimes may appear that a road is clear and suitable for normal use, there may still be loose chippings to watch out for, so I would urge road users to always adhere to advisory signs and drive at the appropriate speed.

“Driving at excessive speed over loose chippings can cause spinning and skidding, as well as chipping to windscreens and paintwork. I would urge road users to drive at the advised speed limit to avoid any accidents.”

Vice chair, John Cox, added: “Surface dressing is often carried out while the road is still open to traffic.

“I would strongly advise motorists to take extra care when out on Aberdeenshire’s roads this summer – there is an extensive programme of work taking place right across the area.

“Road closures and restrictions are put in place to allow safe working in the carriageway and for the safety of motorists – this is only done if absolutely necessary to minimise inconvenience.