Why Are Auckland Roads Always In State Of Repair?


There are roadworks everywhere.

Auckland roads seem in a constant state of repair.

Or some company like Vector is digging them up.

Or some sort of sewage pipe is being replaced or changed or updated.

I’m no road engineer but I never understand why it feels - and it may be a perception or naivety - why a road that got tarsealed not so long ago is having it done again.

is it to keep unemployment figures down or do roads need this constant disruption?

During the last month, I’ve seen some classic road anger when Auckland motorists have to work their way through a maze of cones around rail work.

And several construction workers on their smoko have chatted to me about how angry people have gone about rail disrupting their road travel. Why do we need rail in Auckland?,  the motorists yell out the window as they slow down to pass the works.

And I have personally encountered - while photographing various rail projects- very angry and usually well-heeled locals, especially around the Grafton station project, lecturing me about what a waste of money all this rail work is as they head home to their three-car garages with the mandatory BMW.

Oops, sorry. Almost got into a road vs rail debate.




  1. Joshua says:

    Road do need constant maintenance, flexible pavements wear down and heavy traffic accelerates the wear. This comes in the form of rutting cracking potholes etc. (Cracking lets water into the pavement, and hence can cause a major failure).

    However they do have a certain life usage, and built to a obtain that life, at the moment we just happen to have alot of pavements reaching that life, plus with all the footpaths been redone it’s a good time to redo the roads…

    With service’s been ripped up and replaced in the road, this can be due to common failure at the time or just poor planning by the council/controlling authority, (usually the later) when it should of been replaced before the road is redone.

  2. Ian says:

    Half the time it’s because the trucks are too heavy and tear up the roads…Well there’s a good reason why we need rail!

  3. Max Robitzsch says:

    Just the very localised version of the NIMBY.

  4. jarbury says:

    I think the frustration is that you get one utility company after the next digging up the same road because they need to lay something. Surely things could be better co-ordinated?

  5. Matt L says:

    I definitely think they should be better co-ordinated. At the same time we should be requiring any utilities digging up the road to lay additional pipes so that it is easier in the future to lay fibre optic cable to houses. The last mile is the most expensive part because you have to dig up so much road. If we put it in the ground like with gas pipes then if someone wants it then they could pay for it to run to their house.

  6. James says:

    Its a pretty common observation by Aucklanders, we shake our heads in disbelief at the contractors who follow each other around going over the same bit of road seemingly repeatedly but for different reasons. Road-marking is another victim of this.

    Plus with so much construction happening all over the city one could be forgiven for thinking when was the last journey I made that didn’t encounter works.

  7. Nick M says:

    I think we have a terrible habit as Aucklanders of seeing things we don’t like, and assuming they only happen in Auckland, whereas they are things which are commonplace in other cities as well (complaints about buses replacing trains due to trackwork springs immediately to mind). It is almost as though we have this inferiority complex, and believe because something is happening in Auckland, it must be bad. We need to move on from this and realise that while Auckland is by no means perfect and has plenty of room for improvement, it is actually a fairly decent city in its own right.

    In this case, having had the opportunity to drive on roads around the “West Island” for some years, I can say that roadworks, either for maintenance or construction, are a constant sight. One thing I can say is that the quality of roads in Auckland beats that of numerous locations in Sydney (the city we Aucklanders most often try to compare ourselves with).


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