MORE than 150 roads are being given an overhaul as a £3 million countywide road maintenance programme gets underway in West Sussex this week.
West Sussex County Council has started work on its annual series of surface dressing schemes.
Surface dressing involves spraying a coating of bitumen on to the road, followed by one or more layers of hard stone chippings.
The programme of more than 150 roads throughout the county are scheduled to be resurfaced in this way over the next two months.
Lionel Barnard, Deputy Leader of the County Council with responsibility for Highways and Transport, said: “Surface dressing is carried out every year. This year the programme has been increased to seal in repairs carried out following another severe winter as well as to protect against future weather damage.
“This is a very cost effective way of protecting and prolonging the life of our roads. It’s quick and easy and traffic can be allowed to run on the new surface almost immediately - avoiding lengthy closures and disruption.
“Sealing the road in this way prevents water getting into the foundations and weakening the road, which can lead to potholes developing. Other benefits include an increase in skid resistance which helps improve road safety.”
Soon after a surface dressing is applied, the road is swept to remove loose chippings. Advisory and warning signs will be in place and will not be removed from the site until the County Council is satisfied it is safe to do so.
Where possible the County Council will give advance notice of the roadworks to residents and advice to ensure their vehicles are not left on roads that are about to be treated. Signs will also be put up advising drivers to drive slowly on recently treated roads.
Mr Barnard added: “It’s easy to think that our roads are in poor condition at this time of year with the unfortunately inevitable crop of new potholes appearing. However the Department for Transport tells us that the roads in West Sussex remain among some of the best in the country.
“The surface dressing programme is an essential element of maintaining our roads in their present condition and we hope motorists will be patient while this work takes place.”
During the 2010/2011 financial year the County Council invested £15 million in permanent road repairs including resurfacing, deep patching and surface dressing. More than 25,500 tonnes of chippings, 3,000 tonnes of bitumen and 35,000 tonnes of new Tarmac were used.