Escorted convoys of cars were finally given highway access to make their return to Takaka after the town was cut off during Cyclone Gita.
Several large slips on State highway 60 from Riwaka to Takaka blocked the only way in and out of the town last week.
NZTA spokesperson Frank Porter said it's not going to be easy to fully repair the access.
"There's three major slip areas that are going to be quite difficult to fix, that's going to take quite a considerable time," Porter said.
It is estimated it will be months before the badly damaged highways are repaired, potentially leaving residents with a one way road.
And more man-power is also needed.
Clean up co-ordinator, Claire Hutt, says the effort is starting to take an emotional toll on locals.
"It's just so tiring and emotions are getting high a lot of the residents the shock is setting they're getting extremely upset and overwhelmed by the whole experience," she said.
But the clean up hasn't ruined the community spirit.
A local Fresh Choice supermarket employee, Anthony Tait, said everyone has come together after the emergency.
"A lot of people have put in a lot of work and its amazing what some people can do when push comes to shove," Tait said.