Significant unsealed road upgrades for rural Northland

Published on 20 January 2022

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Upgrades to numerous unsealed Northland roads are well underway with a substantial amount of work to be completed by the end of June.          

Over the next few months, dozens of projects around the region will be undertaken with more than 40 key roads prioritised for upgrades that will benefit residents in the Far North, Kaipara and Whangarei districts.

Northland Transportation Alliance (NTA) General Manager Calvin Thomas says with nearly 60 per cent of Northland roads being unsealed, upgrades will be spread over many years.

“Our teams have prioritised those roads most in need of maintenance and a lot of work is underway with crews all around Northland right now, which is pleasing,” says Mr Thomas.

Many high-volume tourist routes and roads renowned for dust are being targeted and NTA is asking that motorists be mindful of the safety of roadside workers.

Due to the current dry conditions, it is unlikely that much grader activity will be undertaken. “There has been a lot of research undertaken in the past couple of years around the best ways to maintain and upgrade unsealed roads, and it is clear that the use of graders and spreading metal for the sake of it – the salt and pepper approach – is not the way to get better roads.

“We need to keep getting the base structure and shape of our roads right to make them better in the short and long term. Application of a final gravel layer that has improved cohesive, binding properties is the finishing touch that creates more durable, well-bound unsealed roads requiring less grading.

“The reality is we can only get to 6-8 per cent of our unsealed roads annually, but by maintaining and upgrading them properly through renewing road surfaces, drainage and culvert work, they will last well for seven to 10 years. Over time, we will get to all roads in Northland,” says Mr Thomas.

In the Far North 36km of unsealed roads will be improved, including the application of dust suppressant outside up to 160 rural homes, schools and marae.

In Kaipara, 45km of unsealed roads are being worked on, while in Whangarei District, up to 25km of unsealed roads are being improved.

Far North District Council roading projects planned before July are:

Iwitaua Road, Horahora Road, McIntyres Road, Motukiore Road, Orakau Road, Ōtaua Road, Puketotara Road, Te Tio Rd. Seal extensions totalling around 3km are also planned on Brass Road and Parapara-Toatoa Road.

Kaipara District Council roading projects planned before July are:

Paparoa Station Road, Porter Road, Pukehuia Road, Mahuta Road, Te Maire Road, Waimatenui Road. In addition, a 9.8km seal extension is currently in progress on Pouto Road.

Whangarei District Council roading projects planned before July are:

Ahuroa Road, Bartlett Road, Camellia Road, Connell Road, Finlayson Brook Road, Jackson Road, Lake Ora Road, McAdam Road, Carroll Road, Price Road, Sloane Road, Station Road, Waipu Gorge Rd, Whittle Road, Rockell Road (Limerock) – Whananaki, Wharf Road (Whangarei Heads), Riponui Road, Otonga – Marua Road, Otaikarangi Road, Puketitoi Road, Main Road, Mine Road. A seal extension is also planned for Glenmohr Road and Sandford Road.