Skip to content

Highways information [v]

Information on your highways.

Road maintenance - the basics

The purpose behind the carriageway construction is to spread the load of the traffic travelling on the road surface.

Maintenance Team

We have invested £150M into our road over the last 5 years (2016-2021), prioritised on our strategic network so mainly A and B roads were resurfaced. Our programme is an entirely data led process - the reason for this is to ensure that our limited resources are employed in the most resourceful manner, focusing on the parts of our network that needs it most.

Data is generally collected annually and examines the skid resistance; surface profile for cracking and texture, the stability of the substructure as well as safety defect (potholes) – this cannot be determined alone by what may appear to be happening on the road surface. The annual collection and re-ranking of schemes ensures that the highest rankings are attended to first. We would of course like to resurface the whole network, but unfortunately we can only attend to those roads which have been prioritised based on this information.

We have a County Resurfacing webpage with an interactive map that shows the current years planned sites for resurfacing, patching and surface dressing and users can select previous years as well.

Types of treatments

There are two broad bands of treatments with many sub treatments in them:

  1. Structural Maintenance treatments: Reconstruction, Inlay Resurfacing, Overlay Resurfacing, Recycling.
  2. Preventative Maintenance treatments: Potholing, Patching, Surface Dressing, Micro Dressings, Retexturing, Crack and Joint Sealing, Anti-skid Surfacing.
  • RECONSTRUCTION - The most extensive of treatments that usually involves deep excavation and replacing the surface course, binder course and base with new materials.
  • INLAY RESURFACING - An inlay is where the surface is planned out and re-laid, often in urban areas where there is a kerbed edge to the road. Either the surface course only or both the surface course and binder course can be replaced depending on the requirement.
  • OVERLAY RESURFACING - An overlay is where the new surface is laid over the top of the existing carriageway, often in rural areas where there is no kerbed edge.  Either the surface course only or both the surface course and binder course can be replaced depending on the requirement.
  • RECYCLING - Sometimes road can be recycled. Powerful machines pulverise the road and then, with the addition of fresh materials, can be compacted into a strong new road structure ready for a new surface course to be laid.
  • POTHOLE REPAIRS - Spot repair to a localised defect (pothole) to prevent further deterioration and protect road users from hazards.  The broken area of road is excavated, loose material removed, and new hot materials filled and compacted.
  • SURFACE DRESSING - Mainly used on rural roads. The treatment spreads new chippings onto hot bitumen to seal the existing road surface and restore skid resistance.  Patching is often required beforehand to repair defective areas in the road. Surface dressing can only be carried out in warm, dry conditions and provides a seal against water ingress rather than adding structural strength.  This helps to stem the road from ageing and delays potholes from forming.
  • PATCHING - Repairs for larger areas is called ‘patching’. There are several types of patching as shown by the three pictures below; Hand lay patching, Machine lay patching and Spray injection patching.
  • MICRO DRESSINGS - Also called ‘micro asphalts’ and mainly used on urban roads instead of surface dressings. This is a slurry mix of fine chippings and bitumen laid directly onto the existing road surface. It can regulate minor rutting, shallow potholes and trench reinstatements.  It seals the surface against water ingress rather than adding structural strength.
  • RETEXTURING - This treatment is used when restoring texture and skidding resistance to an existing road surface. The process cleans away excess bitumen and all detritus and exposes a new stone surface to vehicle tyres. These works stem from our annual survey that specifically looks at levels of skid resistance, usually on A class Roads, using a ‘Sideways Coefficient Routine Investigation Machine’ (SCRIM). The works arising from the surveys make up the SCRIM programme works in the capital programme.
  • CRACK and JOINT SEALING - Road surfaces which are cracked but with no other defects can be preserved by sealing cracks with liquid sealants keeping the road structure dry.
  • ANTI-SKID SURFACING - Used on approaches to traffic signals, roundabouts and pedestrian crossings to provide an additional level of skid resistance. The anti-skid surfacing is laid directly onto the existing road surface. It comes in 4 colours: red, black, green and buff (beige).  
Page updated: 18/10/2021 Page updated by: GCC

Help us improve Testing area

Don’t include personal or financial information like your National Insurance number or credit card details.