Roads and footpaths

We carry out work to maintain and improve our roads. Activities range from minor maintenance and road sweeping to traffic surveys and major construction.

You can view information about which roads are scheduled for resealing and / or renewal on our roadworks and closures page.

Roadworks and Closures 

Most of the sealed roads in the Whangārei district have a chip seal surface which is stone chips embedded in a layer of bitumen.


The seal on a road is like paint on your house - it keeps water out of the structure underneath. Like paint, the seal breaks down over time and starts to let water in.

When the surface of a street starts to break down it is time to reseal. The ideal time to reseal is just before any damage occurs, so your road may still look to be in good condition. We aim to keep it that way.

Resealing involves the following:  

  • minor repairs are carried out prior to resealing
  • the resealing contractor will contact residents in the street about a week before work begins
  • hot bitumen is sprayed and stone sealing chips are spread and rolled in
  • excess sealing chips are swept away and road marking is reinstated within 48 hours
  • as many as three additional sweeps may follow in the next six months. 


Road renewal covers the reconstruction and strengthening of the road surface and layers and can include realignment and widening.

Road renewal is undertaken when road surfaces become potholed, cracked, develop corrugations and rutting or the road subsides.

All roads reach a point where it is more economic to renew them than to continue to repair. 

A programme of resealing and renewal work is usually determined at the beginning of each financial year and contracts are awarded through a public tendering system.

Drainage improvements are usually undertaken as part of road renewal works.

Council provides unsealed or metal roads for about 40% of the District’s 1800km roads.

These roads vary considerably in condition because they are exposed to sun, rain and wind. They pothole when wet, and when dry, loose metal, corrugations and dust form on the surface.

Routine maintenance of unsealed roads generally includes strengthening and smoothing the road surface as well as improving drainage.

Grading is timed to take place after a good period of rain and there is a high moisture content in the upper 50mm of the road surface.

As not all roads can be done in the short period available before they dry out again, they are prioritised according to their condition.

Why we don’t grade during dry weather

We don’t grade when roads are dry as this only provides temporary relief for a few days and then the surface is worse than before. This is because the grading creates loose metal on the hard surface which does not compact if the surface is not soft.

If a road becomes dangerous or impassable, even when driving to the conditions, a minimal amount of grading can be carried out to provide temporary relief.

We share your frustrations during summer and ask people to be patient, drive to the conditions and to keep reporting dangerous areas to us.

Routine inspections are completed on roading structures throughout the District.

Structures include:

  • bridges
  • carparks
  • parking meters
  • seats
  • large drainage structures e.g. culverts
  • foot bridges
  • fords
  • bus shelters
  • retaining walls
  • guardrails and railings
  • pedestrian under / over passes
  • cattle underpasses.

Council does not own any cattle underpasses, although they are inspected and maintenance issues are passed onto the owner to attend to.

Footpaths and shared paths are regularly inspected and maintained as part of the pavement, surface and drainage contracts for each area and include kerb and channel repair as required.

Footpaths and shared paths that link key community areas and access to community services, such as hospitals and schools are considered priority routes.

High volume areas such as the central business area of Whangārei are also considered a priority, particularly to ensure that physically disabled people are not disadvantaged in accessing services in the city. 

You can read more information our shared paths on the following page.

Walking and cycling