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Rocky roads in need of repair

JAY BOREHAM
Last updated 05:00 01/07/2014
cars on state highway one
RUTGER DE RIDDER

BROKEN DOWN: Cars line State Highway 1 near Wellsford after potholes in the highway burst their tyres.

tyre with puncture
BLOW OUT: One of Rutger de Ridders tyres which was torn open by the potholes.

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A crumbling patch of State Highway 1 caused grief for motorists south of Wellsford on Thursday.

Cars suffered damage when potholes ripped their tyres at the intersection of Wayby Valley Rd.

About seven cars lined the roadside with burst tyres at one stage.

Rutger de Ridder was travelling from Ngunguru to Auckland for work early in the morning when he hit the damaged piece of highway.

It ripped large holes in his tyres and damaged the wheel rims so that they had to be replaced.

"There was a lady before me who had had tyres blown, and after me another four or five cars also popped their tyres," de Ridder says.

"So I started stopping or indicating to people along the road that they had to slow down because otherwise there might have been a very long queue of broken down cars.

"Before that it was just one car after another."

He got the AA to tow his car to Warkworth for repairs after being stranded because with more than one tyre damaged.

De Ridder says he is glad there were no serious crashes.

He says the NZ Transport Agency should be looking after the highway better, although he understands roadworks and bad weather contributed to the holes.

"But it is a worry, this is State Highway 1 not just some kind of back road. It is a busy national road."

NZ Transport Agency regional journey manager Jacqui Hori-Hoult says the intersection was identified as a crash blackspot and work is under way to improve safety.

"To minimise disruption, the transport agency allows people to drive through a live construction site."

A combination of heavy traffic, a new road seal which had not set properly, and rain has led to potholes forming, the agency says.

Hori-Hoult says the agency regrets any inconvenience to road users, and its contractors are working hard to fill the potholes. "After winter, we will carry out permanent repairs to the worst area by milling or removing the existing surface and then resurfacing with asphalt.

"This will last longer than individually filling the potholes," she says.

The safety upgrade is almost complete but speed restrictions remain.

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