When Brent George speaks about the roundabout work on State Highway 1 south of Whangārei, it is as if he speaks for all of us.
"This has been long. Too long."
Officially, it is the "SH1 Loop Rd Safety Improvements project". Unofficially, it has many names - most of them conceived by Northlanders contemplating the hours of life lost while sitting in traffic.
Consultation on the project began in 2016. In August 2019, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency said: "The $27 million SH1 Loop Rd Safety Improvements project aims to be completed during the summer of 2020/21".
Yesterday, it said, "The project remains on track to be completed in early 2022, which is the original timeframe provided".
No, that wasn't the "original timeframe" but the confusion deepened further when the agency also explained work on the next stage of the project had yet to begin and would take 15 months. That's not going to be "early 2022" by anyone's math.
Is the end in sight? It seems so. By 2023, the contractors should be gone, along with the 30km/h signs and normal life - albeit somewhat safer - will return.
At least, that's what George is hoping. When you ask what he really wants, it is for everything to return to as it was before the project got under way.
He doesn't have big gripes. Instead, it's a lot of little issues.
There's the dirt used to replace that dislodged in a paddock - it wasn't sprayed so when the grass sprouted, so did weeds. It's a fence and whether it should be replaced. It's the $50 a week it costs for paddock hire after having to move cows that couldn't graze in their usual spot.
"It started off with a lot of promises. I've had to fight every step to get it back to where it was. We've copped dust and dirt and mud for two years."
The 30km/h zone runs for 1.6km. It's been an intensive construction zone for the duration of the project - a notorious crash zone slowed to safer speeds by the ongoing project. On long weekends, traffic slows to a crawl. Rush hour - not usually an actual hour in the winterless north - is living up to its name.
The time it has taken could be judged by the centre line markers. The Advocate counted more than 100 missing. Of those remaining, many have lost their reflective brilliance with years of grime from the roads.
"I've got a bee in my bonnet," says George, who ticks through the irritations. He's not convinced the entire project was thought through. The other end of Loop Rd, which used to come out south of the SH1 roundabout, was closed for the Portland Rd safety improvement.
Yes, says George, that's a safer intersection now. But if a serious crash blocks the bridge, there's no way around now because Loop Rd doesn't loop. And the drains - he's watched them being dug up and lowered further into the ground after they didn't drain properly during heavy rain.
George is set to write yet another complaint. He's arguing over where a fence used to be and where he would liked it replaced. Waka Kotahi is, he says, arguing back with reference to satellite photographs - it's high tech at the farm gate. It's not only where it is but whether there's damage done or if it's wear and tear.
"It's niggled over little issues. I get annoyed because it's cost us for them to be there," says George. "It gets to the point, how far do you take it?"
Waka Kotahi infrastructure delivery national manager Andrew Thackwray said the original project was due to be finished in the next few weeks. Work would then begin on the expanded project, which would include a new bridge over Otaika Stream, which would take about 15 months.
Yes, he said, "it will cause some disruption to road users, but when finished it will provide a much safer journey and contribute to better traffic".
Thackwray said the work included a shared cycling and walking path which finished 250m north of the roundabout. The roundabout is 7km from the town basin in rural Northland.
"For our urban areas to thrive people need to be able to move around easily and have a range of choices about how they get to work, connect with family and friends and access services," said Thackwray.
"We need to build a modern transport system with a mix of reliable transport options that help keep people and products safely moving.
"Waka Kotahi understands the importance of providing clear and timely information to homeowners whose properties are near our project sites.
Thackwray said a "dedicated stakeholder liaison" had been appointed by Fulton Hogan since the beginning of the project and "they have developed good relationships with neighbouring property owners".
Told of George's frustrations, Thackwray said any issues that couldn't be resolved "immediately" were "quickly raised with Waka Kotahi".