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Surface dressing

Surface dressing is a preventative treatment, to prolong the life of the roads. It is an essential part of Dorset County Council's road maintenance strategy, alongside patching and resurfacing.

Surface dressing:

  • helps prevent potholes forming by providing a waterproof seal
  • improves skid resistance, with a thin layer of new stone chippings spread on the finished surface
  • is very cost effective; roads can be kept in good condition for longer, so that resources can be directed to fully resurface the roads that need it most. Full road resurfacing costs 12 times more per mile

A newly dressed road may feel 'bumpy' as the grip will have been restored. The surface will also be noisier initially while the chippings 'bed down'.

About the treatment

Surface dressing can only be carried out when the road is dry. When it rains, the work has to stop - changing dates across the whole programme of work.

It is a quick process - rural sites take less than a day to complete and urban roads will take 1-2 hours, depending on the length of the road.

Bitumen binder (glue) is sprayed onto the road, stone chippings are spread onto this and then compacted down with a roller. A sweeper then travels along the road the following day to clear any immediate loose chippings.

Surface dressing in action
Surface dressing in action

Surface dressing sites 2018

This year Dorset County Council is targeting mainly urban/residential roads in towns across Dorset.

Because surface dressing is so weather dependent we cannot give exact dates in advance, as there is a high chance these will change.

  • look out for yellow signs two days before work starts
  • working hours are 9am to 4pm in urban areas and 8am to 4pm in rural areas
  • please move your vehicle off the road before 9am - check that the road you move it to is not also being treated!
  • if a vehicle is left parked on the road, we will tow it away (to avoid it being sprayed black and chipped)
  • each Friday (when surface dressing is underway) we will publish the roads being dressed over the next two weeks on the newsroom
  • please keep children and pets away - for safety and cleanliness

Alderholt/Tricketts Cross - May

  • Station Road - Northern cul de sac
  • Windsor Way
  • Blackwater Grove
  • Churchill Close
  • Birchwood Drive - Park Hill Lane to Hillbury Road, plus southern cul de sac
  • Bramble Close
  • Ash Close 
  • Broomfield Drive
  • Fern Close
  • Beech Close
  • Hazel Close
  • Gilbert Close
  • Green Drive - Birchwood Drive to end
  • Silverdale Crescent
  • Tudor Close
  • Saxon Way
  • Wren Gardens
  • Kestrel Way
  • Hillbury Road - Fordingbridge Road to Ringwood Road
  • Turbary Road
  • Lockeyers Drive
  • Corbin Avenue
  • Barnes Road
  • Humber Road

Corfe Castle - June

  • Battlemead

  • Mead Road

  • The Dollings

  • Colletts Close

  • Halves Cottages 

Lyme Regis - June

  • Anning Road

  • Colway Lane

  • Coombe Street

  • Haye Lane

  • Hill Road

  • Marine Parade

  • North Avenue

  • Queen's Walk

  • Talbot Road

  • Rtimber Hill

  • Ware Lane

  • Woodmead Road

  • Roman Road

  • Somer Fields

  • Somers Road

  • Dragon's Hill

  • Pine Ridge

  • Fairfield Park

  • Charmouth Close

  • Colway Close

  • Applebee Way

  • Henry's Way

  • Elizabeth Close

  • Kingsway

  • Staples Terrace

  • Summerhill Road

  • South Avenue

  • Manor Avenune

  • North Avenue

  • Bay View Road

  • Poole's Court

  • Lym Close

  • Monmouth Street

  • George's Square

  • Mill Lane

  • Mill Green

  • Hill Road

  • View Road

  • Avenue Road

  • Springhill Gardens

  • St George's Hill

  • Haye Close

  • Westhill Road

  • Hill Rise Road

  • Clappentail Lane

  • Portland Court

  • Clappentail Park

  • Blue Water's Drive

  • Upper Westhill Road

  • Highcliff Road

Portland - June/July

  • Westcliff Road
  • Yeolands Road
  • Isle Road
  • Grangecroft Road
  • Croft Road
  • Court Barton Road
  • Courtlands
  • Woolcombe
  • Blindmere Road
  • Blacknor Road
  • Barleycroft Road
  • Martinscroft Road
  • Bowers Road
  • Four Acres
  • Weston Road

Weymouth - July

  • Budmouth Avenue
  • Pinemoor Close
  • Brakendown Avenue
  • Haymoor Avenue
  • Kenmoor Avenue
  • Seamoor Close
  • Moordown Avenue
  • Hazeldown Avenue
  • Eastdown Avenue
  • Highdown
  • Eastdown Gardens
  • Southdown Avenue
  • Oakbury Drive
  • Elm Close
  • Kingsbere Road 
  • Bodkin Lane
  • Mellstock Avenue
  • Eadon Close
  • Enkworth Road
  • Wyke Oliver Road
  • Wyke Oliver Close
  • Chalbury Close
  • Medway Drive
  • Old Castle Road
  • Clearmont Road
  • Hillcrest Road
  • Southdown Road
  • St Martin's Road
  • Southlands Road
  • Sudan Road
  • Belle View Road 
  • Bincleaves Road
  • Recliff View
  • Khartoum Road
  • St David's Road
  • St Anne's Road
  • Aragon Close
  • Boleyn Crescent
  • Cleves Close
  • Howard Close

Blandford - July/August

  • Alexandra Street
  • Alfred Street
  • Barnes Close
  • Bayfran Way
  • Downside Close
  • Elizabeth Road
  • Peel Close
  • Philip Road
  • Queens Road
  • Victoria Road
  • South Lea
  • Larksmead
  • Tudor Gardens
  • Buttercup Lane
  • Hunt Road
  • Stevens Close
  • Newman Close
  • Gent Close
  • Carter Close
  • Angus Close
  • Richmond Road
  • Highfields
  • Ann Close
  • Andrews Close
  • James Close
  • Hambledon Gardens
  • Hambledon Close
  • Chapel Gardens
  • Fishers Close
  • Percy Gardens
  • Oak View
  • Charles Street
  • Norden Road
  • Salisbury Crescent
  • Chapel Hill
  • Field Lane

Gillingham - August

  • Shreen Way
  • Claremont Avenue
  • Cordery Gardens
  • Downsview Drive
  • Wessex Way
  • Broadacres
  • Wiltshire Close
  • Saxon Mead Close
  • Knoll Place
  • Avondale Gardens
  • Arun Close
  • Thurstin Way
  • Roseberry Gardens
  • Lodbourne Terrace
  • Fairey Close
  • Bourne Way
  • Lammas Close
  • Sylvan Way
  • Sylvan Close
  • Brookside
  • Black Lawns
  • Highgrove
  • Fairybridge Walk
  • Dolphin Lane
  • Peacemarsh Farm Close
  • Cresscombe Close
  • Albert Road
  • Kings Court


Wareham roads will be done at the end of the programme, time permitting, as there is scheduled utility work that should be completed in the town first. Roads programmed for surface dressing in Wareham include:

  • Encombe Road
  • Stowell Crescent
  • Shirley Road
  • Barnes Road
  • Hardy Road 
  • Frome Road
  • Johns Road
  • Walls View Road
  • Carey Close
  • West Mill Crescent
  • Wessex Oval
  • St Mary's Close
  • Westminster Road
  • Stockley Road
  • Burns Road
  • Great Ovens Drive
  • Bourne Drive
  • Trent Drive
  • Drax Avenue
  • Northport Drive
  • Admirals Way
  • Courtney Close
  • Wellstead Road
  • Northmoor Way - All
  • Carey Road - Bere Road to Humber Chase
  • Humber Chase
  • Egdon Road
  • Mistover Road
  • Dual carriageway - Bere Road to Northmoor Way
  • Daniel Drive
  • Willow Way
  • Nordon Drive
  • Middlebere Drive
  • Fairway Drive
  • Seven Barrows Road
  • Tarrant Drive
  • Stour Drive
  • Sherford Drive
  • Avon Drive
  • Tantinoby Lane
  • Sandford Lane
  • Northport

Closing the road

We have a team of 20 people, two purpose built chipping spreaders, one spray tanker, six lorries feeding chippings and two suction road sweepers. This is a lot of equipment to fit into the road, even without traffic!

Doing the work in the daytime

We cannot work overnight as surface dressing relies on the evaporation of water from the bitumen binder (glue) for it to set, and it needs traffic to travel on the new surface for it to 'bed down' and lock onto the old surface.

We also cannot work in wet weather - any amount of rain or surface water dilutes the bitumen and so doesn't hold the chippings in place - which is why our surface dressing programme runs from April through to September. In rural areas we will be working 8am to 4pm and in urban areas we will be working 9am to 4pm.

Loose chippings

There may be loose chippings still on the road. It takes cars driving on the surface to help the stones bed into the bitumen.

This is why there will be 20mph limit after the work. Travelling at a reduced speed through the newly dressed area will prevent skidding on the loose chippings, it helps 'bed down' the material and it will save your paint work! We sweep the road the day after the work to get rid of excess stones.

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