Northlanders are facing 10 years of State Highway 1 roadworks south of Whangārei as the highway's new $692 million four-laning takes shape.
Steve Mutton, New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) director regional relationships Northland and Auckland, said four-laning construction on the Whangārei to SH1's Port Marsden turnoff would be completed by 2027 or 2028.
Four-laning construction on the 22km route would begin early 2024 Mutton told Wednesday's Regional Transport Committee (RTC) meeting in Whangārei.
"Four-laning's going to take a number of years to complete," Mutton told the meeting.
That construction start will come on top of soon-to-be-started safety improvement construction work along the same stretch of road – and extending south to Wellsford - which is still going ahead before the four-laning, largely due to the route's bad crash rate status.
It comes on top of the almost a year's roadworks at the Otaika Loop Road/SH1 roundabout that started in March 2019.
And it adds to Tarewa Rd/SH1 intersection roadworks that began in Whangārei city in 2018.
Mutton told the Regional Transport Committee (RTC) meeting NZTA was putting together the initial planning and business case for the new four-laning project. This would be completed before the end of the year.
The four-laning work would go out to tender in mid-2021. Contracts would be let in mid-2023. Roadworks would begin in mid-2023 or early 2024. The new corridor's route would be identified through developing the project's business case.
RTC member and Northland Regional Council councillor Rick Stolwerk said it was important NZTA clearly communicated about the decade's roadworks to Northlanders and others using affected parts of SH1 faced.
Mutton said the Whangārei to Port Marsden four-laning came in conjunction with other construction work progressing northward towards Northland's biggest city along the more southern sections of the Whangārei to Auckland highway.
The Puhoi to Warkworth section of these works would be completed by the end of 2021.
The Warkworth to Wellsford section of the route was progressing. The NZTA website says resource consent applications for this section will be lodged with Auckland Council next month.
The Whangārei to Port Marsden four-laning is part of highway construction and roadworks improvement along the full length of the road from Whangārei to Auckland.
John Bain, RTC chairman, said the just announced $692 million four-laning from Auckland to Port Marsden was to be commended but wasn't the full picture.
He called for completion of four-laning along the full length of SH1 between Whangārei and Auckland Harbour bridge.
"In reality, the plan we have is only half a pyramid," Bain told the meeting.
"It's pointless to have four laning bottlenecks each way on the remaining two-laned section of SH1," Bain said.
"We would like to see the plan for completion of the route to Te Hana (from Northland's side) and have the Auckland Council side meet up there," Bain said.
"We need to make sure all our transport systems will work."
He said it was important to have confirmation of the four-laning right through from Whangārei to Auckland – even if its timeframes were as far out as 2035.
"We need to know the plan in place. We know Rome wasn't built in a day, it will happen," Bain said.
Meanwhile Bain called on NZTA to clearly notify the community about where new parts of the route from Whangārei to Auckland would be.
He said three possible "lines on paper" had been presented in August 2017.
"All that's done is make people very unsure about which farm the road's going through," Bain said.
"If we can get proposed route on paper, people will know where it's going to be," Bain said.
He called for the route's section which currently traverses the Brynderwyns to be bypassed.
This was too expensive for trucks. It cost $56 for a truck to traverse the Brynderwyns. He said the Brynderwyns should not be part of the main SH1.
An alternate route, even with a minimal toll would be preferable for trucks.
Ann Court, RTC member and Far North District Council deputy mayor, said it was important the new work resulting from recent central government funding into the region didn't compromise existing business-as-usual work that had already been committed to.
"You've said it wouldn't compromise business as usual, but you'll still have to hire roading engineers, planners, contractors. I'm concerned about the business as usual impact on projects around Northland and New Zealand from Government-funded work around Northland and New Zealand," Court told Mutton at the meeting.
"What tangible tool can we use (to make sure that doesn't happen)," she said.
Greg Martin, RTC member and Whangārei District Council (WDC) councillor (WDC's infrastructure committee chairman) said Infrastructure New Zealand's board had assured him during its recent visit to Whangārei there was adequate resourcing available to bring the roading to life.
"They said they had the capacity for the increased work. They said all they needed was the notice and they could easily gear up for the work to be done," Martin said.