A 45-minute trip from Hikurangi to Waipu took two hours yesterday because of roadworks in the area which caused major traffic delays.

The resurfacing work on SH1, just south of Portland Rd, kicked off at 9am yesterday and by 10am motorists were stuck in long lines of traffic.

Parris N Donna Rumbal commented on Facebook saying it took two hours to get from Hikurangi to Whangarei - a trip which usually only takes about 45 minutes.

Several other motorists took to Facebook to vent their frustrations.


Dempsey Dempsey said it took 48 minutes to get from the Otaika Rd shops to Loop Rd yesterday and called the delay "bloody pathetic".

Denise Wilson told the Advocate a trip from Mata to central Whangarei, which usually takes her about 15 to 20 minutes, ended up taking 1 hour and 10 minutes.

"I did see a sign heading south near Portland turnoff maybe Monday saying there was going to be resealing of the road. I don't know why there were such long delays as whenever there is roadworks they seem to manage this well without too much delay," she said.

Brett Giddon, New Zealand Transport Agency highway manager, said the delays were not expected.

"NZTA apologises for the inconvenience caused to motorists who travelled through this stretch of SH1 [yesterday]. We are working with our contractors to do everything we can to ensure the delays are not repeated. We work hard to reduce disruption to road users and the delays were not expected."

Mr Giddon said because of two nearby schools the roadworks were timed to coincide with school holidays to minimise disruption to the school communities.

Motorists commented on Facebook questioning why the work was not being carried out at night. Mr Giddon said the work is not carried out through the night because of a drop in temperatures.

"As we move out of the warmer summer months the temperatures are dropping too low to ensure the new surface sticks sufficiently," he said.

It's not the first time roadworks have caused major traffic delays south of Whangarei. In January last year a combination of holiday-makers heading home and multiple roadworks created a long trail of traffic snaking up to 22 kilometres with reports of nose-to-tail traffic all the way from Whangarei to Mata.