Northumberland’s roads are dressed to impress

Around 26 miles of roads have already been improved in the county council's annual surface-dressing programme.
Around 26 miles of roads have already been improved in the county council's annual surface-dressing programme.
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The county’s roads should be a smoother place to travel this summer as work continues to improve sections of Northumberland’s network.

Around 26 miles of roads have already been improved in the county council’s annual surface-dressing programme. Surface dressing is used where the existing road surface has worn over a period of several years. This can lead to minor surface cracks, allowing water to enter and cause damage which can reduce the skidding resistance of the road surface.

Surface dressing seals the cracks, protecting the underlying construction, and restores the surface texture and skidding resistance of the road. Where required, teams have also carried out patching along the length of road before the surface-dressing treatment takes place.

This year’s programme, in which the council has invested almost £1.5million, has seen road surfaces improved from the Scottish border down to the south-east corner of the county and across into Tynedale. A total of 385,000 square metres of carriageway should be improved when the works finish next month.

This work forms part of the council’s Local Transport Plan programme, a £19million investment for 2015/16 to maintain and improve the county’s highway and transport network. Improvements range from tackling landslips, such as the one at Crag End near Rothbury, through to refurbishing roads, footpaths and repairing bridges.

Coun Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services, said: “We’re committed to doing everything we can to provide quality repairs to our county’s roads in the most cost-effective way. Surface dressing can only be done when road surface temperatures are higher so the current spell of good weather has enabled us to make great progress on numerous roads. These more minor roads are often lifelines between rural communities and it’s vital they are kept in a good state of repair.”