Motorists stuck in queues on Bulls Gorge near Kerikeri may have to put up with delays until Christmas as work continues to repair the highway.

The Northern Advocate has fielded multiple phone calls from frustrated motorists who needed half an hour to get through the gorge on State Highway 10, which is down to one lane during work hours.

Some said they had been late for work or appointments despite allowing extra time for the journey.

At times last week northbound traffic was backed up as far as Puketona Junction, a distance of about 4km, they said.

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Jacqui Hori-Hoult, Northland manager for the NZ Transport Agency, said contractors had now completed drainage work to take care of ground water, reshaping the road shoulders and dug out and replaced soft and fatigued materials in the road underlay.

Work had now begun to rebuild the road surface before applying a final chip seal.

The Bulls Gorge rehabilitation was due to be completed before Christmas but some night work could be required to achieve that.

Stop/go operators tried to minimise delays, ''but once we start something it is hard to stop part way through'', she said.

The agency apologised for any inconvenience to motorists as it worked to get the essential repairs done before the peak holiday season.