Expect road-works this summer

Published on 20 December 2021

Photo of a stop-go worker holding a

More than 130 kilometres of Whangārei’s sealed roads will get fresh surfaces this summer, and 4 kilometers of new sealed road will be added. 

Council has already started road upgrades and resurfacing, making the most of the coming season of dryer weather and longer days. Major roading rehabilitation projects have also kicked off for the summer roadworks season with Council programming the complete rebuild of 2.0km of existing sealed rural road, including, Kokupu Block and Rushbrook Roads. A section on Rewa Rewa Rd and Dent St at the Town basin have already been completed for this year. More than $10.0 million will be invested in our sealing or renewing the seal on our network by 1 July 2022. 

Why seal and re-seal? 

The seal on a road is like paint on a house – it keeps the structure underneath dry, secure and sound. But, like paint, it doesn’t last forever and requires maintenance and replacement to do its job properly. Wear and tear, changes in temperature, rain and underlying ground conditions all mean the surface must be constantly maintained and repaired. There is no such thing as “once and for all” in the transport world. 

My road looks fine 

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 a road may still look to be in good condition. We aim to keep it that way. 

Didn’t they just do that bit? 

Sometimes it can be frustrating to see road repairs happening in the same spots repeatedly. This is not because the road works are failing, it is because road surfaces are built in layers and that requires a number of repair stages to be done in the right sequence. Rather than doing all the stages in one spot, involving all the materials and equipment to be taken there, Council goes over the whole network doing one stage, then goes over again, doing the next stage and so on, until it is all done. It is more cost efficient this way. 

The chip seal process: 

  1. Minor repairs are carried out prior to resealing. 
  2. The contractor will contact residents in the street about a week before work begins. 
  3. Hot bitumen is sprayed and stone sealing chips are spread and rolled in. 
  4. Excess sealing chips are swept away and road marking is reinstated a few days after sealing.
  5. As many as three additional sweeps may follow in the next six months. Sometimes contractors carry out staged repairs on roads one year, before the same section of road is resealed a year later. 

Why summer? 

The drier months with longer days are better for building roads because the different layers that make up the roads stick better to each other when they can be kept dry. Longer daylight hours also mean more work can be done each day without lights, which is safer and less expensive. 

Why rehabilitate (rebuild) and not reseal? 

Once the underlying layers of the road have expanded their life cycle, deterioration of the road in the form of cracks, pothole and heaving will be visible. The only solution is either removing or rejuvenating the existing layers of the road with new material. Reseal is only a waterproofing layer on top of existing seal and does not have any structural integrity.