Road surface retexturing

The process of retexturing a road surface.

Retexturing reverses the wear and tear of a road and restores the surface to a condition similar to when it was originally laid. It is used when a road’s surface layer is aging, but the structure is in otherwise good condition.

What happens on the day of works

On a typical day we will do the following:

  • Set up appropriate traffic management with either traffic lights or 'stop and go', so traffic can keep using the road. For narrow roads, the road will be closed and a diversion route put in place. Pedestrian access will be unaffected.
  • Drive specialised vehicles with ball bearing or water blast equipment attached over the road.
  • Repeat the process for very contaminated or wider roads.
  • Remove the mixture of debris and ball bearings/water to a suitable facility for separation and recycling.
  • Replace any road markings that have been removed during the process.
  • Remove traffic management and reopen the road to vehicles.

Can I access my property during the work?

Pedestrian access remains unaffected during the works. If necessary, ‘no parking’ cones and signs will be placed out in advance of the work to stop cars parking in the work area which can prevent work from taking place.

Vehicle access to private driveways and off-road parking areas will be maintained where possible but we may have to limit access at some points during the process, for example when working directly outside a driveway.

If you have specific access needs, speak to the workforce on site who will assist you.

Why is the work taking place at night and not during the day?

Most roadworks will cause some disruption to road users and local communities. A key goal during works planning is to minimise this disruption as much as possible, and the specific time of day that work takes place is key to achieving this.

In deciding on the time when the least disruption will be caused, we take many factors into consideration. These include:

  • The disruption and disturbance caused to residents, particularly at night.
  • The ability for residents to access their properties without being stuck in congestion caused by the work.
  • The impact on local businesses, especially during the day.
  • Traffic volumes and the effect on passing road users, commuters, and bus and rail passengers.
  • The impact of long diversion routes on all road users.
  • Safety of our workforce, the local community and the wider travelling public.
  • Quality control.

Roadworks will inevitably generate some noise and when work takes place at night this may disrupt residents’ sleep. To limit this as much as possible, the noisiest work will take place in the early evening rather than late at night or early in the morning.

When works are planned to take place at night, on balance when considering all the above factors, we feel that the overall inconvenience to all affected groups of carrying out this work at this time is less than doing so during the day.

How does retexturing work?

Road surfaces are usually made up of stone mixed together with an oil-based filler. The stone provides the strength in the road and the filler acts as a shock absorber for the impacts and forces generated by passing traffic.

The filler is permanently in a soft state, which allows it to absorb those forces without suffering damage. If there is too much filler in the road surface, the road will not be strong enough to support traffic and will deform. If there is too much stone, the road will be too stiff and brittle, resulting in damage such as cracking.

As the filler is never fully solid, over time the stone within the mixture can migrate downwards and become partially buried below the filler and external contaminants can build up on the surface.

Retexturing removes any excess filler and contaminant build-up on the surface, restoring the correct ratio of stone and filler on the surface of the road. It does this by blasting the surface with ball bearings or water at very high pressure, which physically chips away the softer filler and contaminants whilst leaving the stone intact.

Why use retexturing instead of normal resurfacing?

Whilst traditional resurfacing does also restore the correct balance of stone and filler by installing an entirely new road surface, it is generally used when a road is damaged beyond reasonable repair.

Retexturing is used on roads where the structure of the road is in otherwise good condition, with the main issue being the excess of filler materials or contaminants on the very surface of the road. Retexturing addresses this issue without having to needlessly and wastefully dig up and dispose of materials that are still in good condition.

As the process is self-contained within the machinery used, it is also very safe for the workforce. As it does not involve any digging, it is also a comparatively fast process, significantly reducing the impact of works on local communities and the travelling public when compared to traditional resurfacing.

What are the environmental considerations of retexturing?

  • With the existing road surface left in place, reduced working times and minimal disposal of materials means work produces less carbon emissions.
  • No material is added to the road, meaning no natural resources are used and there is no energy use or carbon emissions caused by producing material.
  • No chemicals are used in the process and the ball bearings or water are entirely contained and collected for future reuse, so the work presents no risk to the environment.
  • Waste materials produced are minimal and easily separated out into component parts, which are then entirely reused or recycled.
  • A retexturing treatment is a smaller and faster job than resurfacing, saving energy and reducing carbon emissions.

How long does retexturing last?

A retextured road will be restored to its intended conditions for around three to five years, depending on the exact makeup of the road and volumes of traffic that use it.

Why does the road look and feel different after retexturing?

The process physically removes contaminants from the road surface, which tend to be dark in colour and exposes the underlying stone which tends to be a lighter grey. Consequently, the road will look lighter in colour after the work is complete.

The newly exposed stone will also feature a rougher texture and as a result will feel slightly rougher as you drive, ride or cycle over it than it did before the retexturing took place.

Do I need to drive differently on a newly retextured road?

No. As soon the traffic management is removed and the road is re-opened, it can be driven over as normal. There is no bedding-in process and there will be no loose materials present, so it can be treated just like any other road.

Where water has been used to retexture the road, the surface may be wet and you should adjust your driving as you would when using any wet road.

Last updated:
21 March 2023
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