Guidance change on longer life of high friction surfacing


New evidence proves the long-term cost effectiveness of high friction surfacing (HFS), according to key industry groups.

Following a two year audit, the RSTA ADEPT guidance Service Life of Road Surface Treatments for Asset Management Purposes has been updated to reflect the increased service life for the surface treatment.

The durability of HFS, which is expensive to apply, has been the subject of long-running debate.


The change follows a comprehensive study of 220 high friction road surface sites by the British Board of Agrement (BBA).

It found the average service life to be 12 years for cold applied systems and 8 years for hot applied systems. Previously the average service life was reported as being 8 years and 4 years respectively.

The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) said the audit was the first of its kind in terms of scale and independence.

Howard Robinson, chief executive of the RSTA, said: ‘The BBA audit has significantly increased the expected average service life for high friction road surfacing. This proves the long-term cost effectiveness of using this surface treatment.

‘The service life guidance provides the performance data necessary for highway authorities to make an informed decision.’

Mr Robinson told an event last year that those in the industry had previously raised some concerns about the longevity of HFS.

The new guidance provides an agreed service life on a range of road surface treatments including surface dressing, slurry surfacing and high friction surfacing. This enables highway authorities to undertake proper asset management by providing a recognised baseline for lifecycle planning and asset valuation.

The RSTA said a key part of this is awareness of the expected durability and performance of road surfaces that have been correctly specified, designed and installed. 


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