Last night we met with Gwillam Lloyd the Head of Highways at Swindon Borough Council to discuss the Thamesdown Drive issue. Last year a survey was carried out on the road which showed that the top layers were cracking up and could become very dangerous in a couple of years. The council was left with two options to resurface the road, thin-layer resurfacing or a complete reconditioning of road.
Due to cost pressures on the council it was highly unlikely that there would be sufficient funds for full reconditioning for a few years; after the point at which the road would have started falling apart.
It was therefore decided that the resurfacing works carried out were thin-layer resurfacing. This surface dressing means removing a top layer of road surface and spraying the surface of the road with a coating of hot bitumen and then 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.
The work has to be done when the weather is warm and dry, as the bitumen will not stick to the road in cold or wet weather; hence why we had numerous delays. As soon as the bitumen has set, the road is swept to remove any loose chippings, drains which over 25mm lower than the road surface are raised and the white lines are applied; this I believe was started last night.
The presence of excess loose chippings can detract from the public perception of the quality of the work; but this is a necessary part of the treatment as vehicles using the new surface helps to embed the excess material into the surface to further protect it against the environment.
Gwillam informed us that Swindon Borough Council are currently chasing the contractors over lack of communication with residents, poor diversion signage and other areas regarding the work.
We shall be keeping an eye on how the surface beds down and will certainly keep the highways department on their toes.