Northland's three district councils want money and support from the NZ Transport Agency to fix local roads when they are damaged during long-term state highway traffic diversions.

"Long term use of secondary roads because primary roads are shut isn't working," Greg Martin, Whangārei District councillor told Monday's meeting of Northland's Regional Transport Committee in Whangarei.

Far North, Whangārei and Kaipara district councils are responsible for maintaining local roads in their districts, whilst the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is responsible for state highways.

"We need meaningful discussion around our alternative routes, not tokenism," Far North District Council deputy mayor Ann Court said at the meeting.

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"We're going to have to have alternative roads. We've got to make sure these roads have the capability to carry us through into the next decade – which is about to begin," John Bain, regional transport committee chair told the meeting at Northland Regional Council.

"We are getting busier with more and more freight," Bain said.

Ultra-heavy trucks were singled out for specific mention when it came to damaging Northland's alternate rural roads.

"These ultra-heavy 54 tonne trucks are always going to be a problem on our country roads because they are longer and heavier," Bain said.

"We need side roads and secondary roads capable of carrying that length or freight."
Bain said Northland needed secondary roads capable of carrying the larger truck lengths and freight weights.

A Kaiwaka-Mangawhai route bridge not being up to the new heavier ultra-heavy trucks recently caused alternate route issues when a vehicle crash closed State Highway One near Topuni.

The North's roading issues under the spotlight at Northland's final regional transport committee meeting held in Whangarei. Photo / Susan Botting
The North's roading issues under the spotlight at Northland's final regional transport committee meeting held in Whangarei. Photo / Susan Botting

Ruapekapeka Rd in the Far North, Jordan Valley Rd in Whangārei district and the Kaiwaka-Mangawhai route in Kaipara are among secondary Northland roads councils said were cases in point.

Bain said a more formal approach was needed to manage ultra-heavy trucks' travels along Northland's secondary roads in the wake of an SH1 diversion.

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Jacqui Hori-Holt, NZTA representative at the meeting said the drivers of these trucks were currently the people who made decisions on what route to take after a state highway diversion.

Hori-Holt said Northland's district councils which found themselves in the situation of having to deal with council local roads being damaged due to SH1 diversions should approach her organisation.

This had happened during Northland's 2014 weather events and her organisation had worked with local councils to support the extra costs they faced as a result.

Court told the meeting the topic needed further attention.

She called on it to be the focus of further regional transport committee work.

The matter will be further discussed at the committee's next meeting.