Major highway improvement programme in May

Posted on: May 2, 2024 at 8:39 am fleet of lorries undertaking surface dressing on a highway

Island Roads is preparing to deliver an intensive programme of highway improvement works at a number of sites across the Island during May.

The programme of surface dressing is designed to both increase skid resistance and also seal the carriageway surface, preventing water ingress which is the major cause for potholes forming.

The work, at 22 locations, will be carried out between the two May Bank Holidays.

Surface dressing involves applying a layer of bitumen onto the highway into which chippings are then simultaneously rolled. The road is swept initially and then the action of traffic beds down the chippings onto the new surface.

Additional sweeping will also be done after 48hrs and again one week after the treatment has been delivered.

The process is carried out by a fleet of four state-of-the-art vehicles, and as the surfacing progresses at walking pace, only short-duration rolling road closures are required. The process requires dry weather and a ground temperature no lower than ten degrees Celsius therefore May is considered the optimum time to deliver the works prior to the busier summer holiday season.

Emergency vehicles will be able to pass through work sites at all times.

On less trafficked areas, a secondary process is carried out which is similar to the initial surface dressing. This is carried out three to five days after the surfacing dressing element of the works has been completed. This element of the work is also delivered at a walking pace therefore delays on the network are minimised.

Work may be required in some areas to prepare the road in advance of the surface dressing. After the roads are treated, crews will need to return to reinstate cats’ eyes and line markings.

An Island Roads spokesperson said: “This is probably the most intense period of work we have undertaken for several years. Fortunately, it is a quick process so disruption to the network should be kept to a minimum even though approximately 100,000 square metres of carriageway will be treated.

“We are aware that some of the roads we plan to treat – such as Whippingham Road – do present some particular challenges and we will be engaging with those stakeholders in the coming weeks.

“But we are looking forward to a programme that will bring considerable safety benefits across the Island as well as prolonging the lifespan of the treated roads by making them less susceptible to potholes.”

You can read more about the programme along with some Frequently Asked Questions on via the ‘current works’ tab. More information about the Whippingham Road work will be provided shortly.