Resealing Wellington Roads

10 January 2012

On a hot summer's day when you're heading to the beach, our contractors are likely to be hard at work resealing the city's roads.

Contractors out in force resealing Hinau Street in Tawa

Contractors out in force resealing Hinau Street in Tawa

Summer is the best time of year for street resurfacing. Warm air and ground temperatures mean the asphalt or chip seal adheres properly to the street surface. If roads are laid when the ground is cold, the surface will harden and crack, and chips will come away from the chip seal.

Water can then get into the foundations and undermine the street, requiring more substantial repair work.

The Council's Infrastructure Customer Services and Communications Manager, Trish Ubels, says resurfacing of the city's streets is done from November to March.

"We do our best to make sure residents know about road sealing work coming up in their area," she says.

Letters are sent out a month beforehand, followed by another 48 hours before the contractors get started. If the work is on a major route, we'll advertise on radio and in newspapers.

We have about 700km of road surface and 870km of footpaths to maintain with around 60 to 70km of streets needing attention each year.

Our infrastructure team carries out an annual survey of every footpath and street in the city, including the kerbs and channels.

When the surface reaches a certain condition, it goes on a priority list for resealing. The list is checked with utility companies to see if they have any work planned for that location over the next three years and if not, the street will go into the resealing programme for the coming year.

"With regular maintenance, street surfaces will normally last 10 to 15 years," says Trish. "If left untreated, the street surface will start to fail and in the long term cause major structural damage that is very expensive to fix."

Before resurfacing, our staff assess and prepare the site. Any structural repairs to the street, footpath and kerb and channel are completed two or three months ahead of the resurfacing.

"If a patch in the street is in really bad shape, we dig it out, fill it with base material, compact it for strength and cover it with asphaltic concrete," says Trish.

The type of resurfacing selected is quite a complex process. It takes into account traffic volumes, previous treatments, age, and the behaviour of the existing surface and location.

Asphaltic concrete is generally used in the central city, shopping centres, tight corners, cul-de-sacs and highly-stressed areas. The best-value engineering practice is always selected, balancing costs with benefits.

For details of the road maintenance programme for 2012, visit:

Roads & Traffic -  Maintenance Programmes

If you have a query about your street, phone (04) 499 4444.

We do our best to keep to the programme but some work may be delayed by urgent or emergency repair jobs.