Road improvements in county are miles ahead of schedule

A scheme to improve Northumberland’s roads has proved so productive that work is already starting on projects planned for next year.

Around 34 miles of hard surfaces were initially targeted for the county council’s annual surface dressing programme back in May.

These works – covering approximately 300,000 sq m of carriageway, were due to be complete in August as part of the authority’s programme of highways improvements.

But due to improved productivity and the recent spell of good weather, staff have delivered the planned surface dressing works in just eight weeks at a lower cost than scheduled.

Now the council is to use this remaining time and money to bring forward 11 more schemes that were originally earmarked for next year.

These improvements will cover a further 10 miles of rural roads – mainly in the north and west areas of the county.

Coun Ian Swithenbank, policy member for streetcare and the environment, said: “This is excellent news for everyone who uses our road network.

“We’re committed to doing everything we can to provide quality repairs in the most cost effective way, but improvements to equipment and productivity have exceeded our expectations.

“This has meant we can get a head start on improving roads which may otherwise have had to wait until next year.”

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 cause damage which reduces the skidding distance of the road surface.

Surface dressing seals the cracks, protecting the underlying construction, and restores the surface texture and skidding resistance of the road. The best time to do this is when road surface temperatures are higher to ensure the chippings are retained.

This type of work is set to be carried out on the C139 Fenrother Lane today and Friday. The road will be closed on both days between 8am and 5pm.