State Highway maintenance – a big year for Lower North Island and top of the South state highways


Contractors responsible for maintaining state highways in the top of the South Island and lower North Island have literally gone the extra mile.

Mark Owen, Regional Manager Lower North Island/Top of the South, says the figures for last summer’s maintenance season have been compiled, and they show a considerable amount of work was completed, despite the weather being much wetter than usual.

“For Wellington and Wairarapa, our contractors managed to reseal, resurface, and rehabilitate over 45 lane kilometres of road on the state highway network. As well as this, they carried out a significant number of resilience works to help better protect the network from risk. This included our ongoing scheduled maintenance programme for State Highway 2, Remutaka Hill.”

Across the top of the South Island – Marlborough and Nelson/Tasman, Mr Owen says more good progress was made.

“There we renewed just under 13 percent of the network, with over 170 lane kilometres of the state highway network resealed, resurfaced, or rehabilitated.”

While the weather conditions this year haven’t been as challenging as those experienced further north, Mr Owen says the region still had some major hurdles to overcome.

“The post-flood repairs on State Highway 6 between Blenheim and Nelson in late 2022 required a lot of work, as did major slip repairs on State Highway 59, Pukerua Bay and State Highway 58, Haywards Hill. So, to get as much done as we have shows just how hard our contractors have worked.”

SH6 underslip repairs, November - December 2022.


Slip repairs, SH59 Pukerua Bay, September 2009.

But Mr Owen says while winter is here, the work for road crews doesn’t get any easier.

“Winter brings a whole host of different challenges. It’s only a year since we had major floods, which caused extensive damage to local roads and the state highway network across Marlborough and Tasman. While we can’t predict the weather, we must be ready for the problems it may bring.”

“We have already taken some steps here. Extra resilience was built into State Highway 6 between Hira and the Rai Valley when the highway was closed for repairs at the end of 2022. 30 new and larger culverts were installed, and they’ve already shown their worth during heavy rain this year. The road is in a much better position to cope with bad weather than it used to be,” Mr Owen says.

Waka Kotahi appreciates how disruptive resurfacing and pavement work can be for drivers and Mr Owen says road crews work hard to minimise the impact on the public.

“We put a lot of thought into how and when we deliver this important work, to minimise disruptions for road users, while also ensuring highways are well maintained and provide safer and more reliable journeys.”

Reporting state highway problems

It is vital problems on the network are identified. While contractors do regular checks, drivers are the best eyes on the road. If you see a pothole or anything that may be a problem, please report it. The sooner we know about it, the sooner it can be fixed.

Summer State Highway Maintenance – facts and figures


  • Rehabilitation (full road rebuild) – 1.1 lane km.
  • Resurfacing (replacing asphalt) – 22.2 lane km.
  • Chipsealing – 17.8 lane km.
  • SCRIM resealing (improves skid resistance) – 4.6 lane km.
  • Signs replaced – 214.
  • Barriers replaced/repaired – 5.3 lane km.

(Figures exclude SH1 Transmission Gully as this is managed under a PPP)

 Marlborough and Nelson/Tasman

  • Rehabilitation (full road rebuild) – 4.4 lane km.
  • Resurfacing (replacing asphalt) – 7.6 lane km.
  • Chipsealing – 159.5 lane km.
  • SCRIM resealing (improves skid resistance) – 3.1 lane km.
  • Signs replaced - 506.
  • Barriers replaced/repaired – 59.47 lane km.