Highways and road maintenance

Surface dressing

Every year, we improve a number of roads with a regular programme of surface dressing.

Surface dressing offers a quick, efficient and cost-effective way of maintaining skid-resistant and waterproofed road surfaces, helping to prevent future deterioration. It's not always popular with road users, mainly because of the loose chippings which are an inevitable part of the process. However, the speed of the operation, and the short time motorists are inconvenienced, are important benefits.

What is surface dressing?

We spray the existing road surface with a coating of bitumen, then spread stone chippings on top. The chippings are then rolled into the bitumen. Once the bitumen has set, we will sweep the road to remove any loose chippings. This will usually be done within a week, but during hot weather, this may take longer

Traffic is allowed onto the new surface, at a reduced speed, to help to push the chippings into the road. The action of traffic soon begins to embed the chips, forming a stable and hard-wearing new surface. We then complete a final sweep after seven days.

It is important to keep to the temporary speed limits of 20mph, and avoid sharp turns. This allows the surface to stabilise, and prevents any damage to your vehicle.

The surface dressing provides added protection to the carriageway surface, as well as enhancing the skid resistance, making it safer to drive on.

When is surface dressing needed?

Surface dressing is a preventative, for roads that are in a relatively good condition. The dressing can last for around 10 years and be re-dressed a number of times before further intervention is required. Therefore it is a cost-effective process. The work is also done quickly, which minimises the disruption to the public.

Why not resurface the road fully?

Resurfacing is a more extensive process that involves completely removing the top layer of the road surface and replacing it with brand-new material. It is on average, five times more expensive to resurface the road than it is for the road to be surfaced dressed.

What time of year is surface dressing carried out?

The surface dressing programme starts in April and will continue throughout the summer. The work takes place during spring and summer because this process requires warm weather to ensure the surface becomes established.

You find a full list of schemes on the council’s annual plan.

Advice on what to do when we are surface dressing your street

Advanced warning signs will be set up at either end of the site informing people then the work will take place, roads directly affected will receive a letter from the highways service.

We will always do our very best to minimise the impact of the surface dressing works. You can help us to get the job done by following this simple advice:

  • please do not park on the road (during the day) until the road has been surface dressed and the initial sweeping has been completed
  • please keep children and pets away – for safety and cleanliness
  • when driving, please keep to the temporary speed limits and avoid sharp turns or heavy braking to allow the surface to stabilise
  • check your shoes before entering your car or home
  • remove bitumen stains promptly with a proprietary cleaner for cleaning tar which can be purchased from any motoring store
  • you may be asked not to park on the road again, in 14 days time. This is so that the contractor can give the road a final sweep and repaint all the lines. We may also clean the gullies at the same time

Your patience and co-operation are greatly appreciated and we hope not to bother you again for another 10 years.

Completed works

  • House Lane – Arlesey
  • Hitchin Road – Fairfield
  • Clifton Road – Henlow
  • New Road – Clifton
  • Pedley Lane – Clifton
  • Hitchin Road – Clifton / Meppershall
  • Langford Road – Langford
  • UC150 – Southill
  • Sandy Road – Potton
  • Everton Hill / Tempsford Rd – Everton
  • Ickwell Green – Ickwell
  • UC162 – Northill
  • A603 Bedford Road – Moggenhanger
  • Green Lane: Stewartby – Marston Moreteyne
  • Beancroft Road – Marston Moreteyne
  • Bedford Road – Marston Moreteyne / Upper Shelton
  • Sheeptick End – Lidlington
  • Woburn Road – Amthill
  • Chapel End Road – Houghton Conquest
  • Haynes West End – Haynes
  • Water End Road – Maulden
  • Silsoe Road – Silsoe
  • Barton Road – Silsoe
  • Manor Road – Barton-le-Clay
  • Hexton Road – Higham Gobion
  • A507 – Clophill / Fliwick
  • Bedford Road – Barton Le Clay
  • Sampshill Road – Westoning
  • Canterbury Rd – Flitwick
  • Rectory Road – Steppingley
  • Cobblers Lane – Ridgmont
  • Church End/Tyrells – Eversholt
  • Witts End – Eversholt
  • UC97 –  Potters End – Milton Bryan
  • London Road/Hockliffe Road B5704 – Woburn
  • UC190 – Milton Bryan
  • Tyrells End/Church End – Eversholt
  • Hills End – Eversholt
  • C100 – Eversholt
  • Park Street – Woburn
  • Faldo Road – Barton-le-Clay
  • Linslade Road – Heath & Reach
  • Horsepool Lane – Husborne Crawley
  • Biggleswade road – Potton
  • Leighton Road (46) – Eggington
  • Leighton Road B – Eggington
  • Goose Green – Hockliffe
  • Park Road – Toddington
  • Long Lane – Toddington
  • Harlington Road/Sundon – Sundon
  • Harlington Road/Toddington – Toddington
  • Bush Close – Toddington
  • Wellhead Road: Totternhoe – Totternhoe
  • Church Road – Totternhoe
  • Dunstable Road – Eaton Bray
  • Isle of Wight Lane – Kensworth
  • Church End Road – Studham
  • Clements End Road – Studham
  • Clay Hall Road – Whipsnade
  • Buckwood Lane – Studham
  • Common Road – Kensworth
  • Common Road – Kensworth
  • Beech Road – Kensworth
  • Kirkstone Drive – Dunstable
  • Windsor Drive – Houghton Regis
  • Front Street – Slip End
  • Edworth Road – Langford
  • Eyeworth Road – Wrestlingworth & Cockayne Hatley
  • Tadlow Road – Wrestlingworth & Cockayne Hatley
  • Carthagena Road – Potton
  • Everton Road – Potton
  • Vinegar Hill – Sandy
  • Sheep Lane – Potsgrove
  • C93 – Woburn
  • Wavendon Road – Hulcote & Salford
  • Wingfield Road – Tebworth