Turning some Northland roads that have heavy truck use into the country's newest state highway has been welcomed by a national trucking body as a chance to reduce accidents.

On Monday the New Zealand Transport Agency formally designated State Highway 15, comprising Te Pua, Mangakahia, Otaika Valley and Loop roads.

The 127km stretch of road plagued by heavy logging traffic becomes part of Northland's State Highway network which could make it easier to improve safety on the stretch.

NZTA is the new administrator of the route, which runs from Kaikohe to Marsden Pt and provides access between about 50,000ha of production forest and North Port.


The roads had previously been the responsibility of the Whangarei or Far North district councils and have seen numerous accidents in recent years, with many involving trucks.

NZTA had said the speed limit on the mostly 80km/h and 100km/h route would remain the same for the time-being despite those living there asking for change.

Paula Rogers, National Road Carriers executive officer responsible for Northland, has welcomed the change saying it is "an opportunity to reduce accident rates".

"This change of road status is an initiative that National Road Carriers has been advocating for some time. It is greatly welcomed and hopefully will lead to early action to make the new section of state highway more resilient and safer," Ms Rogers said.

"With expectations that both heavy freight - especially logging trucks - and tourism activity will increase in coming years, some smart and innovative upgrade to sections of the route is urgently required if the NZTA goal of providing safe and resilient transport connections for freight and general traffic is to be achieved."

He said with up to 200 logging trucks on Otaika Valley Rd/Mangakahia Rd every working day, the move will give the freight sector, other businesses and the community confidence in the future.