After lobbying their local council for more than a decade to rid their road of dust clouds, residents along Whangārei's Wright Rd can start breathing fresh air now sealing is under way.
Whangārei District Council last week completed sealing the first of four sections of Wright Rd in Pipiwai while the second is expected to be completed before Christmas.
It's hallelujah for the Pipiwai Titoki Road Action Group, especially for spokeswoman Alex Wright, who has lobbied for the dusty road to be sealed through WDC, the Regional Transport Forum and other forums for about 14 years.
WDC contractor Fulton Hogan hopes to finish sealing the entire road by June next year.
"It's been a long time coming and to have the road to be fully sealed is just icing on the cake. The feeling among this group is one of jubilation," Wright said.
"Although there has been an element of doubt, we kept battling on and the end result has been absolutely fantastic. The council tried dust suppressant but that was ineffective."
On a personal level, Wright said she treated the fight over the years as a "bit of a challenge" but the group felt the situation needed to be put right.
"There were excuses and delays in the beginning but we believed the authorities responsible could shuffle money around to get a needy job like ours done."
To top off the celebration, the group last week received a Certificate of Recognition from the Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand Victoria/Tasmania branch for its lobbying.
WDC budgeted $1 million in its Long Term Plan (LTP) for sealing of Wright Rd and the New Zealand Transport Agency approved another $1m. Total allocation for seal extensions throughout Whangārei is $11.3m.
In 2015 the council sealed 10 strips of 100m outside properties on Wright, McCardle and Pipiwai roads. Those strips were extended in 2017.
It costs around $350,000-$400,000 to seal 1km of road, depending on the condition of the road. There are 698km of unsealed roads in the district.