To keep our roads safe and accessible, Waka Kotahi undertakes an annual programme of resurfacing and rebuilding across the state highway network each summer. The 2022/23 programme sees us renewing 2450 lane kilometres, which is approximately 10% of the network. This programme mostly consists of three types of work:
Resealing - stone chips are spread over a layer of hot sprayed bitumen or emulsion. These can take some time to ‘bed’ into the existing road surface, and excess chip is swept off the road after a couple of days.
Resurfacing - the existing road surface is removed, and a pre-made mix of stone chips, bitumen and other products is laid in its place.
Rebuilding - the existing road surface and underlying road structure (pavement) is removed, and replaced with new materials. This is also known as pavement rehabilitation, and can involve the recycling of existing material.
We use summer to resurface and rebuild roads as the weather is warm and dry, which helps ensure quality outcomes and longer-lasting roads.
View our national renewal programme(external link)
Frequently asked questions about road maintenance
Click the links below to view specific information about maintenance programmes on regional state highway networks:
Bay of Plenty maintenance programme
Taranaki region maintenance programme
Greater Wellington region maintenance programme
In winter we focus on routine maintenance activities and responding to issues that appear over time, especially during and after weather events. This can include road closures due to snow, slips, flooding or other factors.
Check the Journey Planner for live updates on the status of the state highway network.
Journey planner(external link)
The majority of pavements in New Zealand are ‘flexible’ to cater for our unique geology in a cost-effective manner. Potholes can occur during the wetter and drier months. Flexible pavements move very slightly when heavy vehicles roll over them, meaning the road structure is less likely to deform.
Areas of the network with older pavements or surfaces are more susceptible to water entering the surface layer and ponding on the road surface. As vehicles drive over the ponding water, tyres create hydraulic pressure, forcing the water down into the pavement. Over time this weakens the road structure and material will loosen and potholes are created.
Occasionally you may experience an issue on the state highway network that results in damage to your vehicle. Examples of this include chipped windscreens when driving on a section of newly sealed road, or tyre damage when driving over a pothole.
Waka Kotahi, through its road maintenance contracts, has an obligation to take reasonable care to maintain the state highway network in good condition. However, in doing so we're constrained by available funding, weather events and resources. For this reason, we can't guarantee that the entire network will ever be free of defects.
You should drive to the local conditions, and recognise that conditions may vary along a stretch of road. You should have insurance for your vehicle in the event of any damage that may occur on the road, and your insurer should be your first point of contact when any damage has occurred. If appropriate, your insurer would then get in touch with Waka Kotahi.
Complaints that claim the road’s condition has caused damage to a vehicle are assessed on a case-by-case basis. Waka Kotahi and our contractors investigate to see if there are any exceptional circumstances we should be aware of, which may trigger further obligations on Waka Kotahi or our contractor.
Request for compensation for vehicle damage form
Last summer saw a significant programme of road renewals. The infographic below shows the scale of this programme at a national level.