The bombing of Darwin and the increasingly savage war in the Pacific resulted in greater usage of the North South Road. The extreme weather conditions of the Territory took their toll and the only solution was to seal the road.
The 1940 specifications allowed for a continuous daily maximum of 200 tons of traffic per day, in each direction. However, by December 1941, the maximum had increased to 2 500 tons of traffic passing over sections daily. Military regulations controlling speed, loading and use of roads were introduced but the unsealed road could not carry the increased heavy traffic during the wet season. Late in 1941, following 60 inches of rain in five weeks, the road collapsed in many places and as many as 100 vehicles were bogged at any one time.
Reconstruction and tarring of the road between Larrimah and Alice Springs was carried out between April 1942 and December 1943. An advance party of 40 Victorian road workers arrived at Tennant Creek on 25 March 1942. By the end of August, personnel strength had increased to 300, which was then supplemented by gangs of men enrolled in the Civil Construction Corps.
The Civil Construction Corps (CCC) was formed in March 1942 to provide a civilian workforce for war-related construction projects. Most of the recruits were over 35 and were employed as labourers, carpenters and truck drivers. The CCC constructed docks, aerodromes, roads, gun emplacements, hospitals, fuel storage depots, pipelines and factories. Over 1800 Civil Construction Corps volunteers were involved in the maintenance of the North-South Road during the later war years.
Early in 1943, a well-equipped workshop was established by the Country Roads Board of Victoria at Tennant Creek. The workshop consisted of a three span structure 100ft long and 56ft wide, half of which was occupied by machine and welding shops.
The maintenance of the Stuart and Barkly Highways was the responsibility of the Allied Works Council who set up road patrol gangs and camps and established a bitumen-sealing organisation in the Northern Territory.