28 April 2017
Surface Dressing

2017 Surface Dressing – Advance Notification

From May to early August 2017, Northumberland County Council will be undertaking a programme of Surface Dressing to approximately 374,000 square metres on all categories of roads throughout the County

Preparatory patching and repair works on the affected roads has already commenced and will continue to June 2017.

What is the process?

The process of surface dressing involves the application of hot bitumen to the road surface followed immediately by chippings. The chippings are rolled into the road surface and the excess removed by mechanical sweeper as soon as possible.

Why do we do it?

Some people ask us -

"Why do you need to do this work? - It is very disruptive, leaves loose chippings and the road does not need repairing".

Surface dressing is only used where the existing road surface has been worn over a period of several years. Usually there are minor surface cracks, allowing water to enter and damage the integrity of the road construction and/or a loss of texture, which would reduce the skidding resistance of the road surface. Surface dressing seals the cracks, thus protecting the underlying construction, and restores the surface texture and skidding resistance of the road. The ideal time to surface dress is when the road may appear in good condition, which ensures a sound surface to accept the dressing, and when road surface temperatures are higher, between May and September, to ensure the chippings are retained.

To help reduce the inconvenience to a minimum, the Council aims to:

Avoid works at peak times on main roads especially adjacent to schools or shops, and major events;

Erect signs at either end of the road to be treated, to advise of the date of works;

Use appropriate materials on all sites to minimise loss of chippings;

Sweep loose chippings from major roads before they are open to uncontrolled traffic;

Sweep all other roads within 48 hours of opening to traffic;

Reinstate all important road markings (e.g. junction markings) within 48 hours;

Reinstate all other road markings within seven days of the road being swept;

Sweep all roads with loose chippings again between 5-7 weeks after the work is completed.

The public can help by:

Removing parked vehicles by the time requested;

Road users are reminded to take extra care and follow the advisory speed limit signs on the recently surface dressed roads until essential road sweeping has taken place;

Take particular care and avoid walking on areas of wet bitumen.

The schedule below indicates the roads in your parish which are to be surface dressed. Please note that this work is weather dependant which may affect programme delivery.

Roads to be surface dressed


Road No.



Electoral Division



Kiln Pit Hill to Slaley


Slaley, Healey, Shotley Low Quarter, Hedley-on-the-Hill



Whittonstall to Kiln Pit Hill


Slaley, Healey, Shotley Low Quarter, Hedley-on-the-Hill

The attached plan(s) indicate the roads to be surface dressed.

For additional information on the proposed surface dressing programme please contact the helpdesk on 0345 600 6400 or email ask@northumberland.gov.uk.

Please drive carefully and reduce your speed!

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