The closing of SH1 through the Mangamuka Gorge since the July 17 storm is causing more than significant inconvenience. It is also costing some businesses a lot of money.
Kaitaia Business Association chair Andrea Panther said a couple of businesses had expressed concern, while using the SH10 detour was costing many businesses tens of thousands of dollars.
One Kaitaia service station had said its takings were down $20,000 a month, while a forestry business was paying thousands in extra cartage costs.
The question business owners were asking was why repair work was not being done 24/7.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Mayor John Carter said he was aware of the extra costs some businesses were paying, and there was another problem, in that the time added to the journey from Kaitaia south and back again via SH10 was making it difficult for some heavy vehicle drivers to comply with the law.
He knew of one business whose drivers had completed trips to Auckland and back via SH1 within the time permitted before drivers needed to take a break, but that was not possible via SH10.
"What worries me is that these drivers are going to be stopped by police and prosecuted for the exceeding the permitted driving hours," he said.
Waka Kotahi NZTA has repeatedly said that repairing one slip in particular was very challenging due to the complexity of the site and work required. The earth beneath the road was unstable, and an old slip above the road was a threat.
Remedial work was under way, and the possibility of opening the highway for light vehicles would be assessed as that work progressed, but significant, long-term repairs would be required before heavy vehicles could use the road.
"We are very aware of the impact the road closure is having for local residents and businesses, and are working under challenging circumstances to get the road open as quickly as possible," NZTA spokesman Steve Mutton said.
"We are currently in negotiations with our contractor about the construction programme, and whether this will include nightworks and weekend work to accelerate our programme."