Motorists and trucking firms fed up with Northland's "abysmal and substandard" state highways say more needs to be done to make the region's roading network safe.
Northland's state highways are awash with repairs and roadworks as contractors rush to complete jobs before the holiday season brings an influx of domestic visitors.
Truck drivers, police and residents want real solutions to the region's state highways which, they say, are too narrow and dangerous and constantly being patched up.
Kerikeri-based trucking company Jacklines, which runs four trucks, had two drivers quit because driving trucks on Northland roads was too hard on their bodies.
Jacklines managing director Jakob Honing said the men, both in their early 40s, "couldn't handle the situation in the seat" due to poor conditions like bumps, unsealed patches and potholes.
"You don't feel it too much when you're in a car but when you are in a truck it's terrible.
"The general public gets the idea that we [damage roads with trucks] ... and we get hammered, but if they don't make good roads they fall apart."
Honing, who has been in the trucking business more than 40 years, said the roads were built in the 70s and have remained narrow, while cars and trucks have gotten bigger and wider.
"The roads are stuffed. The surface needs to be taken off and the base of the road needs to be widened and compacted properly and put a new surface over it."
National Road Carriers Association chairman Don Wilson - originally from Whangārei – said the state of the roads in Northland was "abysmal".
He said it was due to a lack of funding and "no accountability" on the quality of repairs.
"If you look at the SH12 failure a few months ago, all they've done is put marker pegs in the middle of the road to narrow the lanes down. Nothing has been done to fix the road."
Wilson said the state of the roads in the region is "below what should be accepted".
"They fix the road and tarseal it, and it lifts in a couple of weeks. The length of time it takes to do a repair and the quality of the repair is substandard.
"We don't send our drivers to work in unsafe vehicles, but they have to go to work on unsafe roads."
Northland crash analyst Senior Constable Jeff Cramp said the state highways had not changed despite increased traffic and road damage caused by large vehicles such as logging trucks.
"If roads were improved and there were more shoulders to the roads and the lanes were wider that would reduce the number of crashes. It's always been concerning, but it's never remotely changed.
"There's been patches of fix-up work done and they've improved SH1 between Whangarei and Towai greatly, but that's as far as it goes. In the Far North there's been no major modifications to the road at all."
A coroner recently found that a cracked road in Northland was a contributing factor to the death of two Spanish tourists in 2009.
Eva Fajula Rovira and Joan Roma Serra were killed when a Linfox truck crossed the centre line on SH1 in Towai and slammed into their campervan. The coroner found the uneven, cracked road caused the truck's front wheels to bounce, leaving the driver unable to steer the truck.
There has been a huge increase in traffic on SH10 due to the closure of Mangamuka Gorge on SH1 after torrential rain caused slips in July.
Kāeo resident Anna Valentine said trucks should be taken off the roads after recently witnessing one crossing the centre line numerous times between Kāeo and Puketona Junction.
"It was swerving in and out of the lane, the edges were wobbling over the side of the road constantly. I see it all the time. It's terrifying and it's really dangerous. There should be a train system for all these heavy loads."
National's former Northland MP, Ōkaihau resident Matt King, said Northland roads were the "poorest in the country".
"We've had a lot of growth in the last decade or so. We've outgrown the state highway. It needs to be a properly engineered road, built for trucks."
Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency has allocated $6.6 million to repair and resurface 110 single-lane kilometres of Northland's state highway this summer. The agency also plans more "short-term and cost-effective" repairs this year such as filling potholes and patching work.
Senior systems manager Wayne Oldfield said the $6.6m allocated to Northland's state highways did not include capital projects or money set aside for emergency repairs for unplanned events such as storms.
"Having a finite budget means we have to continuously prioritise and make trade-offs to manage a state highway network which has grown significantly, and the number of vehicles and heavy vehicles has increased."
There have been 24 fatalities on Northland roads this year involving cars, trucks, motorbikes, and pedestrians. Two of these deaths have involved trucks on state highways.