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Road surfacing in Leek dubbed a shambles

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: January 15, 2014

By Belinda Hargreaves

  • The grit at the bottom of Wetenhall Drive, Leek.

  • The gritty 'mess' at the bottom of Wetenhall Drive in Leek.

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A COUNCIL has admitted that road resurfacing work has "failed" in parts of the town.

It comes after the Post & Times reported concerns about "slipshod" highways work carried out last summer.

This involved the resurfacing of 67 sites in Leek, which it has been confirmed cost a total of £260,026.

Residents felt that many roads had been left in a dangerous state after the grit used as a surface dressing loosened soon after the work was carried out.

In a letter now being sent out to some residents in Leek, a spokesman for Staffordshire County Council's highways department said: "The road outside your property was treated last year using a process known as surface dressing.

"This involves spraying the carriageway with polymer modified bitumen and applying a layer of aggregate.

"The treatment is extremely effective in prolonging the life of the road structure by sealing cracks and preventing water ingress.

"Unfortunately it has become apparent following the application that the adhesion between the bitumen and aggregate used has not performed correctly.

"As a result some aggregate has been shedding from the new surface.

"We are currently working with the material suppliers and the contractor who undertook the work to identify the source of the problem.

"Where the surface has not performed correctly it will be treated again at the contractor's cost.

"This work will be undertaken later in the year when the weather is sufficiently warm and dry.

"In the meantime the contractor will continue to sweep loose aggregate from the road surface at regular intervals."

A Freedom of Information Act request has revealed the council is experiencing the "continued loss" of the chippings at six of 800 sites resurfaced across the county last year.

Around 32,000 tonnes of chippings were used across Staffordshire.

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This will be recycled and used for future works.

Although the council said it is unable to break down the tonnage used in Leek, it confirmed the total expenditure for the resurfacing of 67 sites in during 2013 was £260,026.

Simon Tagg, Staffordshire County Council's cabinet support member for transport and connected county, said: "Unfortunately, a small proportion of the surfacing carried out has failed and we are working with the contractor to identify the source of the problem.

"Any additional work required will be carried out at the contractor's expense.

"The contractor will also continue to sweep the loose chippings from the road surface at regular intervals."

The council confirmed that letters are being sent to residents in Market Street, Bath Street, Wetenhall Drive, Sneyd Street, Burton Street and other roads in the Westwood area.

Spring Gardens resident Bill Birch, aged 71, who is treasurer of the residents' group Action West End, said: "I think the whole job of resurfacing the roads in Westwood area and the rest of Leek has been a shambles.

"The loose chips are a problem.

"Not only is there a risk of cars having their paint chipped off by these loose chippings, but there is also a risk for pedestrians with potential flying chips in the air as cars go past.

"There is also a skid risk for vehicles, especially at junctions. We often hear cars grinding the grit as the turn out of Burton Street into Spring Gardens."

Mr Birch added: "I think that the contractors continuing to sweep up the loose chippings and then correcting the work at their own expense at a later date, is relatively admirable. However, they should have done the job right in the first place."

Westwood area resident Franz Opitz, told the Post & Times: "It is rather obvious that the council should have admitted there is an issue from the start.

"It concerns me how they tendered and decided on who was to carry out this work.

"They probably just went for the cheapest.

"The roads are still a mess even though they are continuing to sweep up the loosened grit. I reckon they must have swept up at least 20 to 25 times so far in Leek.

"I understand that the work to rectify it can not be done until the warmer months, but I am still concerned with the health and safety regarding the skid risk with the loose grit.

"They may as well come along with a big scraper and take it all off while they wait for the warmer months.

"Who knows what it is going to like when we have really frosty weather?"

Mr Opitz added: "Hopefully the council will now carefully consider tenders before having such works carried out in error."

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2 comments

  • dizzle118  |  January 17 2014, 12:03PM

    To be honest this is unacceptable and dangerous. I understand environmental circumstances my have caused this however the mess need to be cleaned up - not left ! Not only is it messy but deby flies into the path of pavements and pedestrians, dog walkers etc. and should a car require to stop sharpish this surface will more than impede the stopping time. - simple solution to this short term - get the road sweepers out to clear up our streets

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  • NynjaSquirrel  |  January 16 2014, 7:56PM

    Maybe the should add the top end of Leek too - East Street outside the First School is lethal, with loose grit flying everywhere.

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