Roads replaced with gravel

by bikeboy76   October 27, 2012  

This is a bit of a gripe against Manchester and/or East Cheshire county council. This summer some signs went up around various spots where I have a mix of my usual routes. They said there would be road dressing. Sure enough the top layers were scrapped off and gravel chippings covered the road. The signs said "skid risk max speed 20".

Well I though this would be great to finally get some of the worst roads relaid with nice smooth tarmac all the way to the curb instead of just digging up the inside and causing more pot holes. So I waited weeks expecting one day to come across one of these patches laid smooth but it didn't happen.

I realised they were just letting the traffic bed down the gravelly surface and not finish it off at all. The chippings did clear but just ended up in a drift at the curbside. The potholes were barely covered and just turned into ruts in a permanently rough surface.

I can understand if the councils have little money to spend of road resurfacing but this is not the answer, they are already degrading worse than the original surface in just three months. If this is an ongoing policy it will quickly make 'road' bikes pointless. I already have to avoid these spots: Park Road, Gatley; Marthall Lane, Ollerton; Common Lane, Lach Dennis. And I have seen more signs up.

Anyone else seen these 'repairs' in action?

26 user comments

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the_mikey's picture

posted by the_mikey [148 posts]
27th October 2012 - 17:13

2 Likes

Yep, north tyneside council did the same outside my house. The road, once smooth with the occasional pot hole, is now rough with drifts of kerb side gravel.

The noise it makes is ridiculous, sounds like a bloody boy racer with every car Angry Angry

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2847 posts]
27th October 2012 - 17:15

3 Likes

Dont get me started on this! At Wits End

Its cheap and its nasty. The one at Gatley is already coming apart and its only been down a couple of months.. To make it worse there was a lovely bit of what i call 'European Tarmac' (flat, smooth, well laid) just on the bend where some work had recently been done. Then these 'dressers' come along and throw some tar and chippings down and obliterate it!
Its awful when its just been done - you think you tyre is going to go any minute and cars throw the chips up into your face. Then after a week or so the gutter is just a gravel trap waiting to throw you from your steed.
Even when it has settled down it is a horrible surface to cycle on. Truly awful.
They have also done ii on the old A34 between Wilmslow and Alderley.
Its a false economy and just a concession to people who (rightly) moan about the state of the roads.
Its turd polishing.
Ive not noticed Manchester doing it (they use an equally crap method of just covering potholes and running) but Salford do it too and i think Stockport are guilty.

posted by Some Fella [824 posts]
27th October 2012 - 17:21

3 Likes

ooh, thank you, it's just not me going crazy then. And the bugger has a wiki page. I don't have a pick up truck.

False economy is exactly right. If I lived on that road I wouldn't just be narked, I'd be livid.

And I'm amazed that people know the exact spot I am talking about in the whole universe, great specific knowledge.



I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1434 posts]
27th October 2012 - 17:34

2 Likes

Glasgow was testing a 'reverse gulley sucker' a few years back. Instead of sucking *** out of drains it was set up to blow cold tar coated chips in to unprepared holes in the road. I asked the operator how long that repair (made without cutting back the loose edges of the hole, priming them with painted tar, laying coarse material as a structural base and fine for the finish coat) would last "About 6 months" he said. He was right.

I tracked a road defect in Mill Road Crewe, which I passed over every 2 weeks. When I first spotted it (in the dark) I regret not taking a picture. It was a hole with a void beneath that you could stick your forearm down in to. Each time I've visited it has either sunken again, or has a new repair, suggesting that water is washing out the material supporting the road. Cracks are spreading out, settlement is obvious and detectable from the saddle of a bike, yet all the Council does every 2 weeks is spend another £200-£500 on another futile patch job.

In Glasgow there are some slots that sink across the road regularly. Thay are where tie-bars were ripped out when the trams went 50 years ago and they have yet to fix the road properly!

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [504 posts]
27th October 2012 - 17:36

1 Like

They're doing this all round here too (Richmond Borough in south west London). Hopefully the loose gravel is dispersing but still the surface isn't very smooth. Also it never seems to dry - could be more likely to ice up when it gets colder?

The only advantage is that the work has made the speed bumps a bit less severe.

Noli porcum linguere

captain_slog's picture

posted by captain_slog [282 posts]
27th October 2012 - 18:04

1 Like

Seemed to be happening around where I live in the lakes over the summer too. Made some of the roads extremely sketchy at times!!! and the road surface left behind was pretty poor too. I though it was just because the roads aren't exactly heavily trafficked and so they were trying to do the bare minimum but it seems to be wider spread than that...

posted by pirnie [198 posts]
27th October 2012 - 18:17

3 Likes

Put it to your advantage and buy a new bike that would be good on 'chipseal' roads, any cross bike or even better one of them nice Salsa Warbird gravel road racers...mmmmm nice.

Fringe's picture

posted by Fringe [1085 posts]
27th October 2012 - 18:22

2 Likes

They did this on my TT course (B10/9), needless to say, everyone's times suddenly got worse one week.

The worst thing was that before they put the chipping on, it was nice, smooth tarmac and I got a PB on it.

At Wits End

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1733 posts]
27th October 2012 - 19:08

1 Like

The idiots from Devon council put it at the bottom of a steep descent in town and forgot to say anything. Cue me at the top of the descent, already in a bad mood, On my way down I suddenly realise that there is a slippery road surface and try to compensate...
I hit a parked car before I managed to get back under full control. I now have a scar on the inside of my knee about 4 inches long, surprisingly caused by Bottle cage!
I still take it really slowly on descents and I live in Devon where every climb is rewarded by an amazing downhill bit... Bah!

posted by Jaltham [67 posts]
27th October 2012 - 19:50

2 Likes

My whole village and many of the roads around here are cover in this shit, its crap, goes everywhere but the potholes they are trying to cover. Its messy. They need to find something better.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9040 posts]
27th October 2012 - 21:01

1 Like

What's probably worse is the fact that before this "covering" goes down the road faults (sunken trenches potholes & bumps) were easier to see!

FATBEGGARONABIKE's picture

posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [605 posts]
28th October 2012 - 8:32

1 Like

It seems that this is going on all over the country then. Councils are using this tactic to look like they are doing a lot of work on the cheap instead of fixing the potholes properly. They cover the whole road with chippings ruining the majority of the road that was fine.

Looks like it is Stockport Borough Council near me that is to blame. I will be watching Manchester streets like a hawk.



I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1434 posts]
28th October 2012 - 16:42

1 Like

The fact is though that councils road repair budgets are being cut and after the awful winter we had the year before last they're already up to their necks in pot hole repairs.

To ensure you can't sue them they have to do something but they can't afford a ten year fix so they do a cheap fix just in order to keep their heads above water.

It's not really the council's fault, would you rather they cut school budgets to fix the roads? They don't have the money to do a proper job so they're just delaying the inevitable. Sooner or later it'll get so bad they'll have to do a proper fix but until then they'll just keep going with cheap patch jobs.

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
29th October 2012 - 8:23

1 Like

Last month the government announced that they want spend £40bn on capital spending for infrastructure. A big chunk of this was for road building.
This was designed to 'stimulate growth'.
Here is an idea - instead of building new roads just get the same contractors to resurface every bit of road in the country. The same people will be given work and our roads will be of a high standard (or until the utility companies come and dig them up).
There was a similar programme in the 1920s and 30s when the entire road network was tarmacadamed.

posted by Some Fella [824 posts]
29th October 2012 - 11:24

2 Likes

Some Fella wrote:

Here is an idea - instead of building new roads just get the same contractors to resurface every bit of road in the country.

That is exactly what I think. If they cant look after the roads we have then only a fool would build more. It costs more in the long run to keep bodging than to do a proper fix. 10 or 20 billion spent now would go a long way to sorting it out.

However you get a lot more political points by building new shiny roads/railways than looking after what we already have. The roads have been allowed to degrade for a long time now it does not aseem to matter who is in power.

posted by ilovemytinbred [164 posts]
29th October 2012 - 12:16

2 Likes

You've missed the point here; these 'chipseal' roads don't repair the potholes they replace the whole road. Money is being wasted covering whole roads with a poor surface instead of repairing specific damage. One of the other contributors pointed out a recent repave that was sprayed with the chippings.

This isn't an either/or argument. Councils should still be funding any other public services but the roads budget is being spent in the wrong way.



I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1434 posts]
29th October 2012 - 12:18

1 Like

Just to add to the chorus of disapproval, there's a part of (I think) NCN 45 after Wrenbury with this crap on that's now bloody lethal. The drifted stones "grab" your wheel and will have you off if you're not on your toes.

--
"Tant que je respire, j'attaque!"

John_the_Monkey's picture

posted by John_the_Monkey [423 posts]
29th October 2012 - 13:00

1 Like

As bikeboy said, its not just covering potholes. Its the full road surface thats being replaced here.

I would have no problem if it was just a temporary fix for potholes until such times as the full surface got replaced, but its now the case.

The only road that we have which is tar, is a tiny section where the council tarred because the Queen was visiting to open a plaque.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9040 posts]
29th October 2012 - 13:04

1 Like

All I can say is, be glad you don't live in Iceland. Over there they have a designation of road I'd never seen before, 'Main Road - Unpaved'.

It's basically a gravel main road (and I mean actual gravel, not just a loose layer on top of tarmac) and they're lethal. They get even more fun too in the winter when you get a layer of snow on top of a layer of ice on top of a layer of gravel Big Grin

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
29th October 2012 - 13:12

1 Like

drheaton wrote:
It's not really the council's fault, would you rather they cut school budgets to fix the roads?

YES OH GOD YES! if you have kids why should I pay for their education? Devil

FATBEGGARONABIKE's picture

posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [605 posts]
30th October 2012 - 15:57

0 Likes

FATBEGGARONABIKE wrote:
drheaton wrote:
It's not really the council's fault, would you rather they cut school budgets to fix the roads?

YES OH GOD YES! if you have kids why should I pay for their education? Devil

Because at some point that child will be fixing your car or bike, working in your LBS (or Evans), driving your train/bus, being your doctor or running the country.

Education affects everyone, its not just for the benefit of those with children.

Also, the "I don't use that service argument" could apply to everything, hospitals, doctors, police and roads. I don't use the roads as much as others, why should I pay as much as them? I don't go to hospital as much as some people, why should I pay as much etc etc...

Would you prefer tolls on all roads so what you pay reflects usage? Or an American style health system where you pay for each treatment rather than getting it free?

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
3rd November 2012 - 10:30

2 Likes

Could ROAD.CC please give us some better smileys/emoticons as it seems that even if I post a comment on here which is so obviously outrageous followed by an emoticon to reinforce that people still think I'm being serious! Sad

FATBEGGARONABIKE's picture

posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [605 posts]
5th November 2012 - 8:16

1 Like

maybe one with a speech bubble that says "I'M BEING SARCASTIC"? Big Grin

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7506 posts]
5th November 2012 - 9:01

2 Likes

The royal parks are at it too,

The cycle path between Kensington gardens and Hyde park has had loose gravel put over the surface.

Must look up the research that this newly added road surface is better for breaking and steering on this shared surface.

posted by Cycleoptic [19 posts]
5th November 2012 - 9:44

1 Like

...and just about the whole of Worcestershire. There used to be some great roads to cycle: Salt Way out of Droitwich, A38 north of Bromsgrove, A422 and just about every road in between but now instead of the smooth slick surface I get yucky gravel. Rubbish!

Do the people who make the decisions have any idea how bad it is for cycling? You literally cannot use the road for a month or two when they first do it.

posted by Bobbys boys [81 posts]
5th November 2012 - 11:29

1 Like