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Information about planned maintenance work to ensure the safety and resilience of the state highway network in the Waikato region.

Maintaining your roads

More than $80 million was be spent on maintenance across approximately 1695km of state highway in the Waikato in the 2021/2022 maintenance season.

Some of the region's most significant work sites this season included road renewals on SH28 Whites Road and resurfacing at SH1 Maungatautari.

We are focused on maintaining roads during the wetter and colder months of the year. This includes reactive maintenance to road conditions, drainage works and standard maintenance activities such as litter collection and signage repair and replacement.

While our 2022/23 programme is being finalised, we expect to be investing into road renewals throughout the Bay of Plenty region over this period.

Latest news

Waikato and Bay of Plenty state highway works for May 2022(external link)

SH1 safety work between Piarere and Taupō underway(external link)

See all news across this region(external link)

Tips for driving on freshly laid chip seal

  • 30km is okay. Leave space
  • 50km is too fast = Damage
  • 10km is too slow = The road will stick to you

Questions and answers

What is the resealing (chip sealing) process?

Prior to resealing we identify any areas of the road base (also known as the pavement) that require strengthening, and these are repaired in advance, known as a ‘pre-reseal repair’.

When we come to reseal a road, we first apply a thin layer of bitumen onto the existing road. Then a layer of sealing chip is applied onto the bitumen. The sealing chips are rolled into the bitumen to provide initial bond. The road is then re-opened to traffic under a temporarily reduced speed limit of 30km. Loose chips are swept up and the site is road marked, normally within 48 hours of sealing, at which point the temporary speed limit is increased to 50km. Further sealing chip compaction occurs with managing the traffic over the site, and after a few more days the site is swept again and the temporary speed limit removed.

Why is resealing work undertaken during summer?

Warmer spring and summer months are the best time for resurfacing as daylight hours are longer and the warm temperatures and dry air help the new seal stick to the road surface. Warm weather helps ensure the new seal becomes strong and long lasting.

Bitumen is a liquid when it is hot and hard when cold. It can crack in cold weather, and wet road conditions will affect the bond between the bitumen and the road, leading to chip seal failures.

During the peak summer months it is a balance to programme as much work as we can before schools return, while the roads are quieter, whilst also minimising the effect on people’s holiday travel.

Why is there traffic management when nobody is working on site?

Even when there is no one on site working, we may leave temporary speed limits, signs and cones in place to protect road users. We need to consider reduced visibility, temporary surfaces, weather and changes to the road layout that people may not be used to.

When motorists disregard traffic management, they put their safety, that of other road users and our road workers at risk.

Why isn’t maintenance work completed at night?

Where possible, we work at night to minimise disruption to drivers on key routes. However, night work is more high risk for road workers. We are restricted by various factors, such as noise restrictions, which are intended to ensure residents adjacent to works are treated considerately too.

We also need to consider our proximity to other infrastructure, such as overhead power lines, which may pose a health and safety risk to our teams on the ground.

Why don’t we use asphalt on all state highway roads?

Asphalt is a significantly more expensive surface when compared to chipseal, and as such we need to use a mix of asphalt and chipseal surfacing to provide a network of roads that can be well-maintained into the future. We tend to use chipseal on long straight sections of State Highways that have lower volumes of traffic.  Asphalt tends to be used on tight corners, at intersections or high-volume sections of road, where the stress factors related to vehicle movements are increased.

Why are you resealing the road?

The seal on a road is like paint on your house – it keeps water out of the structure underneath. Like paint, the seal breaks down over time and starts to let water in.

When the surface of a road starts to break down it indicates that it is time to reseal. The ideal time to reseal is just before any damage occurs, so your road may still look like it is in good condition when we complete the reseal.

You completed a renewal last year, why are you sealing the road again this year?

All renewals receive a ‘second-coat’ seal the year after they are re-built.  This is due to the initial renewal only including a single coat of chip seal, which is then allowed to settle for approximately 12 months.  The second coat is then added to provide a thick, durable layer of chip seal, waterproofing the surface underneath.  This process prevents ‘flushing’, which is where the bitumen rises to the surface of the road, making it shiny and slippery.