Whangarei Heads Road safety works and construction season

Published on 07 June 2023

Whangarei Heads Road has been affected by the poor construction conditions with chip seal coming off the road and leaving smooth bitumen patches. The excess bitumen will be removed to roughen up the surface and warning signs and speed limits are already in place.

“Safety is our paramount concern so our best option for the winter is to make sure people know to take care and make it clear that they need to go slow in these areas.

“We have reduced the speed limit to 30kph from Pepi Road to Solomon’s Point. “Uneven Surface” warning signs have been installed on the eastern side of Solomon’s Point, before and after the Yacht Club, and after the Parua Bay Tavern.

Map showing roadworks along Whangarei Heads road, the 30km per hour speed limit and uneven surfaces.

This higher level of traffic management will remain in place until ground temperatures increase enough for permanent repairs to be carried out. This is usually around the October/November period.

Mr Devine said resurfacing is a complex process that involves a lot of variables.

“It’s not the simple spray and chip as many believe. Factors that can contribute to failure include ground temperature, shaded area, tight corners and seal aftercare. There is no single reason that has caused the problems along this stretch of reseal.

He said the site would be monitored daily and would be swept as necessary. 

Constant rain hampers construction season

Whangārei’s 2022 - 2023 construction season has been the worst anyone working in the field can remember.

Northland Transportation Alliance’s Strategy and Planning Manager Jeff Devine said there were only five construction weeks of fine weather in the season that runs from late October to mid April.

“This means not enough work was completed over the season, affecting contractors who had geared up for work that did not come, and pushing a lot of work forward into an already full programme for the coming year.

“At best when the weather has been fine this season it has been for short spells and very patchy. On more than one occasion we have squeezed a job into more normal conditions, but this has not always worked.”

“To create long-lasting, cost efficient road repairs, re-seals and seal extensions, the ground has to be dry enough, warm enough, and the weather has to stay fine enough for the length of the job. Shadow cast across roads from hillsides can also affect ground temperature and dryness.

“The wet weather required us to do multiple temporary fixes, and re-fixes, because the conditions have been impossible for proper repairs to be completed without failing a short time after. It’s frustrating for us, for contractors and for everyone driving on the affected roads,” he said.