The final stretch of State Highway 1 was sealed today, allowing drivers a tarsealed ride from one end of the country to the other for the first time.
The northernmost tip of the highway, heading to Cape Reinga, remained a gravel road long after the rest of the main artery was sealed.
Asphalt was laid today on the final 100 metres, near the community of Waitiki Landing, 20km southeast of Cape Reinga, completing the sealing of the entire 2022km road.
New Zealand Transport Agency Auckland and Northland regional director Wayne McDonald said the completion of sealing marked a significant milestone in the development of Northland and New Zealand's roading infrastructure.
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"SH1 is in many ways the backbone of the country, playing an increasingly important role in the lives of New Zealanders and visitors to our country."
Completing the sealing would boost tourism, with an easier drive to Cape Reinga, and locally it would provide safer journeys and reduce isolation for residents who relied on the road to access larger centres, he said.
"The clouds of dust that used to plague drivers heading for the Cape are now a thing of the past," Mr McDonald said.
"The drive will be a lot more enjoyable and safer, with clearer visibility for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians who are also sharing the road."