Traffic control during Surface Dressing Season

June 05 2019

The correct use of signage during roads surface dressing season can positively impact the driving experience, reducing risk of damage to vehicles and subsequent claims against contractors and local authorities alike.

Surface dressing season typically runs from April to September when weather conditions are generally good, with warmer temperatures and reduced rainfall helping to bind materials more effectively with the road surface.

The surface dressing process involves spraying the existing road surface with a coating of bitumen emulsion and covering it with stone chippings. The chippings are rolled into the bitumen to form a water-resistant, protective layer, which makes the road less slippery and extends its longevity. The road surface is then swept once the bitumen has set, to remove any loose chippings. 

However, the nature of the treatment means there will be loose chippings on the road surface until it beds down. Temporary warning signs should be visible to inform drivers, alerting them to reduce their speed. Speed should normally not exceed 15 / 20 mph, in order to minimise the chances of the loose chippings damaging vehicle body paint or windscreens. The use of speed indication devices re-enforces the temporary signage and encourages motorists to adhere to posted speed. 

Should a member of the travelling public make a claim against the contractor and/or the highway authority, the use of correct signage located in key positions is likely to strengthen an argument for the contractor should a claim progress. Mobile speed indication devices (SID’s) provide additional warning to drivers and can nullify any insurance claims.