Road resurfacing

The process of road resurfacing.

Carriageway resurfacing involves the replacement of the existing road surface with new asphalt or macadam (tarmac). Where possible, we will overlay the existing road construction with new material to increase the overall strength of the road construction. Overlaying the existing surface is also better for the environment because the old surface does not have be transported elsewhere and it is therefore more cost effective.

Where overlaying the old surface is not possible, for example to maintain kerb face at property thresholds, the existing road construction is removed to the required depth before being reinstated with new material.

The process of removing the existing road layers is known as ‘milling’ or ‘planing’ and is carried out by large machinery which breaks up the existing road before removing it from the site. Where possible, and in the vast majority of cases, this material is transported to an asphalt plant, where it is used in the mixing and manufacture of fresh tarmac.

After the existing surface has been removed to the appropriate depth, the newly exposed substrate is thoroughly swept by a mechanical sweeper to ensure that no loose aggregate is present. At this stage any items of street furniture/ironwork (manhole covers, gully grates and fire hydrants) are adjusted and/or replaced to the new surface levels. At this time, the point where the old and new surfaces meet, the old surface is trimmed with a floor saw to form a neat, straight joint to which the new surface is laid.

Once all items of ironwork have been adjusted and all construction joints have been neatly formed, the whole of the substrate is sprayed with a layer of hot bituminous bond coat. The bond coat is a very sticky bituminous emulsion which seals the substrate, thereby helping to prevent the ingress of water and the formation of potholes, while also providing a medium for sticking the new surface to the old one.

Only after the bond coat has been sprayed and allowed to ‘break’, is the road ready to receive the new surface which is done using a road paving machine or Paver. During the paving process, very hot asphalt/tarmac in excess of 130°C, is delivered to the Paver from an insulated asphalt delivery wagon. The hot material passes through the paver to the back of the machine where it is smoothed and laid to the correct thickness.

Road rollers then make repeated passes over the hot, newly laid asphalt to compact the material to ensure its durability. This compaction phase must be completed before the new road surface cools to the minimum compaction temperature of approximately 80°C.

After compaction has been completed and the road surface temperature has cooled to the ambient temperature, road markings and road studs can then be replaced before the road is returned to normal use.

What are the benefits of carriageway resurfacing?

The durability of the road surface will be improved, making it more resilient to the formation of potholes. In addition, the new surface will be smoother, which will improve the ride quality and lessen road noise.

Reconstruction of the road surface now will maximise its life, provide a better running surface and maintain the condition of the road structure. It will also reduce the potential for more frequent and costly disruption from localised, small repairs.

Why does carriageway resurfacing work have to take place?

Works take place on roads that show signs of significant weakening of the carriageway structure and need to be repaired in order to provide a safe and durable surface on which to travel.

Pearson Road, Arundel

Carriageway resurfacing works undertaken in August 2022.

Pearson Road before resurfacing
Pearson Road before resurfacing
Pearson Road after resurfacing
Pearson Road after resurfacing

Why is the road still closed but no works are being carried out?

The laying temperature of the road materials is in the region of 130˚C. The new road surface has to cool down to a maximum temperature of 25˚C before it can be opened up to traffic. It may take some time before the newly laid surface has cooled sufficiently to allow traffic to use it, which may give the impression that the road is closed for no obvious reason.

In addition, in between completing the resurfacing element and opening the road, new road markings may also have to be installed which again cannot be done until the surface is sufficiently cool.

Why is carriageway resurfacing works sometimes undertaken during the night?

Unfortunately we cannot carry out work of this nature without it having a severe impact on the local community. In deciding on the time when the least disruption will occur, we take many factors into consideration. These include:

  • The disruption and disturbance that our works will have on residents, particularly at night.
  • The impact that our works will have on local businesses and road users, especially during the day including the ability for residents to be able to access their properties without becoming stuck in any associated congestion.
  • Safety of our workforce, the local community and the wider travelling public.
  • Consideration of the impact of this scheme on commuters, bus and rail passengers and others with limited travelling options.
  • Traffic volumes and the effect of long diversion routes on all road users including local residents and businesses.
  • Quality control.

We cannot complete these works without generating noise and we understand that this may disrupt residents’ sleep. However, every effort will be made to carry out the noisiest operations in the earliest part of the evening and before 11.00pm. This is likely to have an impact on local residents, however we feel that the overall inconvenience of carrying out this work at night is often less than doing so during the day.

What disruption can local residents expect during works?

Vehicles will not be able to be parked on the affected road and area when our surfacing operations are being carried out. A Traffic Regulation Order will be in place, prohibiting the use of these roads by vehicles. Any vehicle parked on these roads during this time may be subject to a Fixed Penalty Notice. This will be detailed in the communications to Stakeholders on a scheme-by-scheme basis.

Accessing and exiting properties and facilities may be restricted while our works are being undertaken. We will do our best to maintain access, but delays may occur for operational and/or safety reasons.

Our works will generate noise and dust, but we will do all we can to keep this to a minimum.

What disruption can motorists or bus passengers expect during works?

The road will likely be closed to all vehicles while our surfacing operations are being carried out. Side roads may also be affected, which will be detailed in the communications to Stakeholders on a scheme-by-scheme basis. If applicable, vehicles will be diverted via a signed diversion route.

Access to all properties will be maintained whenever possible. However, when works are being carried out in the immediate vicinity, delays may occur for operational and/or safety reasons. If immediate access might be required when our works are being carried out, it may be advisable to make alternative parking arrangements outside of the working area.

The bus companies serving the affected area would have been notified of these works in advance.

I am expecting a delivery during the works, what will happen?

Access for deliveries to retail businesses will be maintained at all times where possible and our traffic management and resurfacing teams will do their best to ensure that any disruption is kept to a minimum. However, delays may occur for operational and safety reasons.

If possible, all deliveries should be arranged to take place either before or after the works. If this is not possible, then please contact West Sussex Highways.

What disruption can pedestrians expect during the works?

Pedestrian access to all properties will be maintained and managed at all times. However, residents are advised that they will not be able to cross the road where the works are taking place.

I have off-street parking, will I still be able to use it?

Where possible, access to all properties will be maintained at all times. However, residents may have to wait until such a time that they can access their properties safely, without causing damage to their vehicles or without causing unreasonable interruption to the works being carried out.

If immediate access might be required, it may be advisable to make alternative parking arrangements outside of the working area.

Could weather impact the proposed works?

Weather conditions can have an impact on the delivery of the scheme. In the event that the works are delayed, we may choose to mitigate the delay by working over weekends.

Last updated:
5 April 2023
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