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Highways improvement programme

Each year the Council must undertake condition surveys of the highway network and report these values to the Department for Transport (DfT). These figures are referred to as RCI (Road Condition Indices) and are presented as a percentage of the network in a Red, Amber and Green State.

  • Red - Indicates considerable deterioration and may need maintenance within the next 12 months.
  • Amber - Should be investigated to see if the road needs treatment.
  • Green - Good condition.

The DfT’s reports into the condition of roads, including in Cheshire West and Chester, can be found online:

Road improvement and investment (GOV.UK)

Our programme of routine maintenance and surface treatments is a preventative maintenance measure, extending the operational life of roads and delaying the need for high cost major resurfacing and repair works.

We use a range of techniques and materials to repair and maintain the road surface to keep the borough’s road network moving smoothly.

Surface dressing

  • Pre-patching: February, March, August and September
  • Main roads: April and May
  • Local roads: April to end of August

Surface dressing is a simple and highly cost-effective method of repairing the road surface, which can prevent much more expensive work being needed later.

The process involves spraying the road with a layer of hot liquid bitumen (known as a binder) and then covering it with loose stone chippings. The dressing is then rolled, which together with the actions of slow-moving traffic, embeds the stone chips into the road surface.

Surface dressing seals the road surface to prevent water getting in and causing damage like potholes; and, because it provides a hard-wearing surface with good texture, it also has anti skidding properties. This added protection can extend the life of the road surface by up to 10 years. It is also one of the most environmentally friendly ways to repair a road because the existing road surface is left in-situ and only a thin layer is added on top, thereby minimising the use of natural resources i.e, quarrying for aggregate.

Traffic can be allowed to run on the new surface almost immediately, avoiding lengthy closures and disruption. Also the speed with which it can be laid reduces delays to traffic.

Surface dressing is a weather sensitive process and works can be delayed by both wet, cold and very hot weather. It is usually carried out in April/May as the treated road surfaces then have four good months to embed properly before the start of winter.

Preparation and pre-patching works

Patching and preparation programme in advance of and forming this summer’s surface treatment programme of works.

  • Manley Road, Frodsham: Road closure for seven days, Monday 12 February to Sunday 18 February 2024 (to be confirmed)

Micro asphalt

April to end of August

This treatment programme is a road maintenance process which involves laying a thin layer over the top of the existing road to seal the surface and restore grip, thereby extending the active lifespan of the road.

Micro asphalt cures quickly and can usually be driven on less than an hour after application. Its ability to reshape and re-profile existing surfaces ensures minor defects are sealed to stop water getting in to cause further damage.

On average, micro asphalt extends the ‘life expectancy’ of a road by five to seven years. It has a much-reduced environmental impact compared to standard resurfacing techniques as it is a non-polluting, cold-applied, zero-emissions material.

Other methods

We are also using new techniques and materials to prolong the life of our road network: ‘Retexturing’ and ‘Rhinophalt carriageway treatment’. These are some of the methods our Highways team is trialling, in order to actively reduce our carbon footprint.


This involves bringing the existing surface back up to texture to improve its skid resistance and extend the life of the road, also improving road safety.


This is a cold spray that is applied to the top of the road surface. It penetrates into the existing surface to seal it, to prevent water getting in which is the main cause of potholes and other road defects.