SHINY new road surfaces have been installed throughout Oxfordshire over the summer months.

Roads in 26 areas across the county have been lined with a special kind of surfacing called ‘micro asphalt’.

The county council has paid for the work out of its £32m highways budget for the year, and has described the special surfacing, known by expert road layers as ‘micro’, as being ‘a cost-effective and convenient method which protects surfaces for around 10 years’.

The council has said that at first, micro appears to have an untidy and unfinished look, but roads line with it are polished over time by motorists.

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A statement from the council said: “as the treatment receives embedment from passing vehicles, mechanical sweeping to remove excess chippings, and absorption or evaporation of the chemicals within the mixture, the appearance will improve over the following weeks and months.”

A total of 26 sites around Oxfordshire have had their roads plastered over with micro this year, covering 4.6km of carriageway, which has also involved 76 tonnes of binder, 520 tonnes of stone and 5.3 tonnes of cement.

Carrying out the work for the council was a contracting crew from Hazell and Jefferies, with one of the last sites receiving the treatment being Carterton.

After visiting the team in Carterton, Liam Walker, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways delivery and operations said: “It was great to see our contractors in action recently whilst they carried out resurfacing work in West Oxfordshire as they concluded our micro asphalt programme for the year. Our new supplier for this service, Hazell & Jefferies, have done a brilliant job at various locations across Oxfordshire.

“I’m looking forward to seeing lots more of this work taking place in next year’s programme. This reaffirms our commitment to get our roads and pavements up to scratch as we continue to invest more money to achieve this.”

Micro can help to prolong the existing structural integrity of a road without the need for more costly and disruptive repairs.

The council has been running micro programmes since 2016, due to the number of advantages it has over conventional resurfacing.

These include that it can be applied cold so traffic can often use a treated road just 20 minutes after micro asphalt has been installed.

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It also seals the surface, keeping out water from the pavement structure and minimising pothole formation.

One of the county council’s other large roadworks projects this year has been a scheme to make Botley Road, the western approach into central Oxford, more convenient for buses and cyclists.

The scheme was due to start in May but eventually began in June after delays due to the coronavirus.

Last year Oxfordshire County Council began a two year trial in laying new road surfaces which could last even longer than micro, if the test proves its durability.

A 750m stretch of road in Curbridge was laid with a new surface made from a Graphene-infused asphalt called Gipave, now being tested by drivers.