County Councillor for Spennells, Marcus Hart, can update local residents and confirm that at the meeting of Full County Council on 16th July he asked the following question of the Cabinet Member for Highways:-
"Would the Cabinet Member for Highways reassure me that issues with the surface dressing on the roads on the Spennells Estate, within my Chaddesley Division will be properly addressed?”
This was the reply he received:-
“Can I thank Cllr Hart for his question and commend the diligence and determination with which he pursues his constituents’ interests.
I have received a number of briefings updating me on this situation and what remedial measures have been and will continue to be taken to put the matter right. He can be assured that the issues with the surface dressing on the Spennells Estate are being properly addressed. The Contractor has and will continue to implement a number of remedial measures to manage the situation that has been caused by the very hot weather in recent weeks. As he will know, surface dressing prolongs the life of roads for about 8-10 years and is an integral part of our policy to keep Worcestershire roads in the top quartile condition of roads throughout the whole country. It is not an exact science but methodologies are improving all the time, particularly with regard to dealing with the increasing trend of extreme weather conditions occurring so soon after each other, in particular the large ranges in temperature which we have faced in recent years. Treatments able to withstand the extremes of both hot and cold remain very challenging. But not to use this method of repair and improvement will leave many roads in an unsatisfactory condition as they deteriorate to the point of needing costly structural replacement.
The Head of Highways Operations has confirmed that, following his recent inspection, use of the 3mm aggregate on the key locations has settled the scuffing and tracking that occurred during the hot weather. There are still a few locations where further use of the 3mm aggregate would provide some benefit. There is a small amount of excess dust/fine chippings at the treated locations which, however hard we try when completing the spot/localised treatment, will leave a slight visual difference between this and the general surface dressing. However, he accepted that, from an aesthetic perspective in the cul-de-sacs and a small number of other locations, residents were concerned.
To further address the issues, Highways are carrying out and will complete the following works:
- We will get a highways team to attend the estate to address any further areas of scuffing/tracking. They will apply the 3mm aggregate to the locations affected. They will do this by hand, to reduce the likelihood of any dust issues where practicable. For this to be as effective as possible, it will need to be completed when the temperature is between 20 and 25ºc so the aggregate binds into the surface bitumen. They will inform Cllr Hart when the team is going to visit the estate. This operation will take a few days to ensure a full treatment of all of the key locations identified.
- Once this treatment on the additional locations has bedded in and settled down, operatives will sweep the key areas treated to remove some of the excess fine chippings and dust and hopefully improve the appearance in relation to the rest of the surface dressing.
- Operatives will then monitor the estate and, should there be further prolonged very hot weather, treat any further locations as necessary and follow up with a sweep of treated locations, should this be required.
- Regarding the black bitumen on the kerb bottoms, this will be treated with a method that removes it via an enclosed jet spray, which will hopefully remove the bitumen from the kerb bottoms and provide for an improved look. Cllr Hart will be advised when this work is due to take place by contacting him when suitable temperatures obtain for a couple of days in succession to address this problem.
- If there are any outstanding areas that the above approach does not resolve, we can consider using ‘Water texturing’. This is a very focused high-powered jet water spray which takes off the top layer of any exposed bitumen. However, its use is generally restricted to the Autumn, as the road temperatures need to be low to ensure it works as effectively as possible. The Estate will be reviewed later in the year.”
Marcus added, “Rest assured, as you can see I am on the case for local residents and will continue to be so.”