The detailed comments from KCC Highways can be seen below:
“Firstly I do apologise for the failure of the surfacing at this location which is of course not what any party would have wanted and certainly not our contractor and their crews. It is important we put it right, in such a manner to achieve the initial result that should have been reached if everything had gone to plan after surfacing this road.
“I have driven the site very recently so that I can understand the situation on the ground as it relates to condition and safety. As you know there is extensive stripping of the micro surfacing at various locations and from an aesthetic perspective it is not good. That said, having reviewed the site I am satisfied that the road surface is not dangerous as the material that is plating off will only extend down to the original road surface, which will be solid and stable, some 20mm below the new micro surfacing layer. In relation to the ironwork and covers, I do accept your observation that several pieces of ironwork / road gullies are low and do need raising and we are arranging this as a priority ASAP in January.
“Just to confirm regarding the current surface state, I do not consider this dangerous or safety critical at the current time, but I will arrange ‘uneven road surface signage’ to be displayed through the site just to make drivers aware of the condition as a precaution, and to advertise the fact we are aware of the current situation regarding the delamination.
“I understand that the solution of patching out the failed areas has been mooted but at the moment that is something I desperately wish to avoid. One of the benefits of the micro surfacing, in normal circumstances at least, is that it protects the main road structure and provides a homogenous surface free of defects and joints. In effect it smooths over any irregularities and previous repairs in the road to provide a continuous running surface and keep the main road structure protected from water. If we patch the road to remove the current delamination, we will lose this benefit and the road would regress back to a state where it is a ‘patch work quilt’ of road repairs and joints. To avoid this we want to bring the full micro surfacing crews back to the site with all the mechanical plant to utilise the same material, to inlay the stripped areas and removing the plating effect, in a way that is visually inconspicuous to the surrounding surface. Our current plan is to bring back the micro surfacing crews in late March to early April 2021 when the season starts in weather & conditions that should be far better than at current, or what we could reasonably expect in January and February.
“It is very frustrating that a failure of this nature has occurred. The Micro Surfacing process itself has been used successfully in Kent for a number of years, and surface failures such as that current on Valley Road are incredibly rare. We do want to put right the problems at Valley Road and I would like to reassure you that this site is a priority to resolve in the beginning of the season and our contractor is more than aware of this and will programme accordingly. The remedial activities are weather-dependant and may involve notification of our return at short notice, in March / early April window, once we are confident the chosen date will be fully supported by good weather. Our revisit must be done in the best possible circumstances to get this issue fully addressed both immediately after the remedial works and for the long term. In the short term we will be monitoring the site regularly with our local district teams to keep an eye on any further deterioration, particularly on safety concerns that may arise, and address these as appropriate until we return to repair the road surface.