Massive storm damage on the Tararua roading network has led to $5 million in applications to NZTA for emergency works in the past year.

NZTA has covered the cost but work is ongoing and it sounded a warning to the Tararua District Council and its roading arm, the Alliance, that road users shouldn't expect all roads to be 100 per cent usable.

"The NZTA are seeking details on the expected future needs of roading segments as part of any application for funding," Chris Chapman, Tararua Alliance manager, said.

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"They are making it clear it isn't practical for users to expect all roads to be 100 per cent usable regardless of road category.

"The expectation from central government is that there will be outages on some roads."

Ratepayers won't be happy, district councillor Shirley Hull believes.

However, Chapman told the Dannevirke News TDC had a "positive relationship" with NZTA staff.

"They are major investors in our district's roads and recently toured our district and gave a favourable response to everything we pointed out," he said.

Tararua District mayor Tracey Collis said the $5m in applications from Tararua for emergency works had hit home to her how much pressure there is on Tararua's roading network.

After a series of storms, the $5m is one of the highest storm-damage repair bills for Tararua roading in a single financial year in the council's history and second only to that caused in the massive storms and flooding of 2004.

But there's good news for those using Route 52, the section between Alfredton and Tiraumea has opened after more than a year of repairs, including a new culvert and retaining walls.

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"The design for the new section was reviewed and the new design is far more cost-effective and leaves us less vulnerable," Chapman said. "We've a more resilient road and it's a great result.

"Traffic is running over the new road and we'll be back in spring to remove the temporary road and put in the new inlet structure for the culvert.

"The weather hasn't helped over the past 12 to 18-months, as our roads have suffered the most amount of damage since the major storm of 2004. This has added another 40 per cent to the workload of staff."

Council chief executive Blair King said NZTA had made it clear to council that its greater focus would be on emergency works.

"What is the future use of some particular roads? Because to bring them up to standard will mean an increase in rates," he said.

However, councillor Ernie Christison said farmers and truckies had the right to expect a certain standard of roads.

"Our council needs to be seen to be doing right by them," he said.

And Chapman said the Alliance and council would be working with land owners on roads such as Angora at Wimbledon to make sure once the logging trucks begin in the "very near future," the road stands up to the increased traffic.