Each year, the county council improves stretches of the county’s 5,350 miles of roads with a programme of surface dressing between April and October.
In the Harrogate area this year more than 70 miles of road will be surface dressed. Among the stretches being treated are Harrogate bypass, Knaresborough bypass, Boroughbridge Road in Knaresborough and Ripon bypass.
Surface dressing offers a quick, efficient and cost-effective way of maintaining skid-resistant and waterproof road surfaces, helping to prevent deterioration. It involves spraying bitumen onto the road surface then covering it with a layer of chippings. The process can extend the life of a road by up to ten years.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said:
Surface dressing is comparatively low-cost at a fifth of the price of resurfacing. This means we can treat a much larger proportion of the road network each year, preventing the need for much more expensive work later.
We know the process is unpopular with some drivers, mainly because of loose chippings, but the speed of the operation and its long-term benefits, as well as the short time for which motorists are inconvenienced, are important factors.
It is important that traffic is allowed onto the new surface because chippings need traffic to fully push them into the road. However, it is also important that drivers keep to the speed limit to allow the surface to stabilise and to avoid damage to their vehicles. That is why we put in place a 20mph speed limit during the early life of the dressing.
After dressing, the new surface is left for seven days to allow the chippings to embed then any residual chippings can be swept up before road markings are repainted.
Surface dressing is in addition to the highway maintenance carried out daily throughout the county. In the Harrogate area, it will be complemented later in the year by capital schemes, among them resurfacing in areas including Skipton Road, Otley Road and Pennypot Lane.
Information boards will be erected in the areas where work is to take place and letters will be delivered to affected properties. The work will be subject to weather conditions.