The nation's state highway bosses have had a first-hand look at Northland's storm-damaged roads during a 500km road trip.
New Zealand Transport Agency chief executive Geoff Dangerfield and Auckland/Northland director Ernst Zollner spent last Thursday with Northland MP Mike Sabin checking out damage as well as the "pinch points" where the region's state highways are regularly closed by floods and slips.
Just two days after their visit one of those pinch points - SH10 north of Kaeo - was again closed due to flooding.
"I've been working closely with Mr Zollner on a number of projects across the network such as the Matakohe bridges and we agreed it would be very helpful to spend a day touring around the region looking at the network. Following the damage caused by July's storm, Mr Dangerfield also offered to come north to accompany us and meet with the respective councils," Mr Sabin said.
Mr Sabin picked up the two NZTA bosses at Kaitaia and travelled along SH10, 11, 12, 14 and 1 as well as Mangakahia Rd.
"I was able to show Mr Dangerfield and Mr Zollner the areas that flooded frequently, where slips are common and where the vulnerabilities in our network too often compromise resilience."
Mr Sabin said the North's problems, challenges and potential were clear to them and he was impressed by a willingness to engage with local stakeholders in coming up with solutions.
The government had promised to pay up to 90 per cent of the cost of repairing storm damage to Far North District Council roads, but Mr Sabin said it was also vital that the resilience of Northland roads be improved to ensure safe passage in severe weather.
He said the government had committed more than $1.66 billion to road projects such as the fast-tracking of the Puhoi to Wellsford motorway and Loop Rd in Whangarei.