Somerset county council

Surface dressing season now complete

A multi-million pound programme to improve nearly 200 miles of road at more than 150 sites across Somerset is now complete – despite the challenges of one of the hottest English summers on record.

Surface dressing is a nationally-recognised maintenance technique for sealing a road, improving skid resistance and preventing water getting under the surface. This is crucial to help stop potholes forming and prolong the life of the road.

It works by coating an existing road with bitumen, covering it with stone chippings and then rolling it.

The process is highly weather dependent and can often be delayed due to rain or cold temperatures. This year, however, the main challenge was the heat and teams started work early in the morning to avoid soaring temperatures and ensure the 2018 programme was completed on time.

Cllr John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “Surface dressing is often wrongly regarded as inferior to resurfacing due to the initial appearance of the road.

“In fact they are very different processes each with their own benefits in different situations. Surface dressing is vital preventative work and without it we’d be carrying out far more disruptive and costly reactive work on a more regular basis.

“This year’s programme means another 200 miles of road have been resealed before winter to improve skid resistance and help stop potholes forming.”

More details on surface dressing, including frequently asked questions and a short video showing how surface dressing works, can be found at You can also stay up to date on roadworks and traffic conditions by following @TravelSomerset on Twitter.

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