What is road maintenance?

In the UK, our roads are a key national asset. They provide the foundation for our economic activity and, on a smaller level, ensure that our day-to-day activities run smoothly and safely. Without roads we would not see economic developmental growth in our society nor would a large majority of us be able to access employment, social, health or education services.

Because of this, keeping roads safe and operational is of the utmost importance. Which is where road maintenance comes in.

What is road maintenance?

Road maintenance is work that takes place on roads from motorways to unclassified roads to ensure they remain strong, safe and efficient. Road maintenance takes many forms, from pothole repair to re-applying highway surfacing, but the overarching aim is to keep road users safe, manage traffic and maintain upkeep.

Road maintenance can include:

  • Pothole repair
  • Road resurfacing
  • Pavement resurfacing

Road maintenance also extends to the repair and unblocking of gullies or drains in a road, replacement of grid and manhole covers, replacement and repair of road signs or street names, and maintenance of green spaces (such as hedge cutting and weeding).

The 3 types of road maintenance

There are 3 types of road maintenance. These are:

  • Emergency maintenance
  • Reactive maintenance
  • Preventative road maintenance

What is emergency road maintenance?

Emergency road maintenance is required should something catastrophic happen that has an immediate and tangible impact on the flow of traffic or safety of road uses. For example, heavy rains may cause flooding which disrupts the entire road network and poses a very real risk of injury or even death to road users and pedestrians.

As you might imagine, emergency maintenance requires addressing immediately to prevent injury and/or disruption. In almost all cases, road maintenance services and local authorities have contingency plans to support them in dealing with emergency road maintenance swiftly.

What is reactive road maintenance?

Reactive road maintenance happens as a result of a problem. The most common form of reactive road maintenance is pothole repair. As we know, potholes form over time, where road surfacing has cracked and eroded to form a depression or hollow on the roadway.

As you might imagine, reactive road maintenance can be costly, particularly if what starts as a small issue is left to become a much larger (and potentially more dangerous) problem. As a result, those bodies that are responsible for the road try to keep reactive road maintenance to a minimum and practice preventative road maintenance where possible.

What is preventative road maintenance?

Preventative road maintenance involves planning in order to avoid reactive road maintenance where possible. It means that roads are regularly inspected for damage and preventative repairs are carried out to avoid accidents or more extensive work in the future.

Preventative road maintenance is what keeps roads ticking over, traffic flowing and road users safe. Measures include surface treatments, highway preservation and road emulsions.

Road maintenance with BituChem

From emergency to preventative maintenance, whether you need help with pothole repair or surface dress, BituChem road repair solutions are the first choice for many authorities that are responsible for the upkeep of our road network. To discuss your project requirements or find out more about any of our highway solutions, please contact us.