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‘More than 10 laps of the M25’: New road surfaces completed in Essex

8 September 2017

Hard-working Essex Highways engineers have surfaced more than the equivalent of 10 laps around the M25 in Essex over the last three years.

This summer alone crews have surfaced more than 3 million square metres of road; the equivalent of more than three times round the M25 or the entire area of the City of London.

The process used to surface a large amount of Essex roads during the summer months is called ‘surface dressing’. It is a widely-used road surfacing technique in which a coating of sticky bitumen binder is applied to a road before stone chippings are rolled on top. It has the advantage of being quick and allows the road to immediately be reopened leaving a skid-resistant and long-lasting surface for years to come.

Engineers have now completed this year’s programme of surface dressing, which can only be done during the warmer months as works can be adversely affected by rain and cold weather. 

Cllr Ian Grundy, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “Many thousands of drivers and riders are already appreciating these smoother, safer, longer-lasting roads right across the county. Road surfacing not only fixes potholes, it prevents them forming for years afterwards. 

“Keeping Essex roads moving and in a good condition is not done by accident. Crews work tirelessly throughout the year to ensure we keep on top of wear and weather-related damage on the more than 5,000 miles of road we maintain. 

“Road surfacing is one crucial tool we use to do this. We are working hard with our partner companies to develop ever-more efficient techniques to ensure we can deliver more, for less, for Essex taxpayers.”

Laying the bitumen and the stones for surface dressing has now finished, but sweeping excess chippings, re-painting lines and replacing reflective studs will continue into October. 

More intensive surfacing techniques and pothole fixing, which are less weather dependent, will continue into the cooler months.

The different road surfacing techniques are explained online at www.essex.gov.uk/surfacing. 

Surface dressing in numbers:

A total of 404 schemes were delivered. A number of these sites included multiple roads.

The area surface dressed this year is 3,010,699m2. 

A total of 607,596m or 377.6 miles of carriageway length was treated.