There's been a positive response from the NZ Transport Agency to trucking industry calls for more urgency on repairs to two key state highways in the Whanganui and South Taranaki districts.

A NZTA representative travelled the Parapara highway SH4 between Whanganui and Raetihi in a McCarthy Transport vehicle. Along for the ride were a representative from the AA in Whanganui and Tom Cloke, Road Transport Association area manager.

Mr Cloke said the trip was a chance for the NZTA to see the problems first-hand, "especially the frustrations transport operators have when negotiating the route."

As well as the drop-outs on SH4, a major drop-out on SH3 south of Hawera was a trouble spot.


Mr Cloke said it was almost 12 months since the June storms hammered Whanganui and South Taranaki, but repairs to these two major routes were at a virtual standstill.

Both highways were vital routes in and out of the region. Every time snow closed State Highway 1 (the Desert Rd), trucks used SH4 and SH3 as alternatives.

The region had enjoyed one of its best summers in a long time but still the roads were nowhere near up to standard.

The onset of winter would affect the amount of work that could be completed, Mr Cloke said.

"Our real worry is that SH4 is vulnerable already and always has been.

"If there's another weather event like last June, we'd be lucky to hold that road in place at all. The Parapara is open, but traffic is restricted where washouts have occurred. It's the incessant stops and starts which are affecting productivity and costs."

Steve McDougall, chief executive for McCarthy Transport in Whanganui, said the longer repairs took the more it was costing his company.

McCarthy trucks use the road every day, especially logging trucks.

Mr Cloke said the NZTA had now agreed more cosmetic work would be done immediately to help overcome some of the issues while work on the more major problem areas was also being considered.

He said the agency would write to the RTA with a more detailed outline of its work programme for the route, and they expected to have that information in the next couple of weeks.

Earlier last month, NZTA said efforts were being made to speed up repairs but the work might take two years.