Waka Kotahi to propose highway speed limit of 80kmph – transport committee members

The speed limit on Taranaki highways is out for public consultation.

SIMON O’CONNOR/STUFF/Stuff

The speed limit on Taranaki highways is out for public consultation.

The region’s transport committee and district councils have indicated they will oppose a possible drop in speed to 80kmh on Taranaki highways.

But Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is not saying whether it officially has a position on a speed limit reduction.

The agency has asked for public feedback on speed limits on sections of State Highway 45, State Highway 44, State Highway 3 and State Highway 3A in Taranaki.

It is part of a nationwide review in which the agency is identifying roads where a drop in speed could make a difference in preventing deaths and serious injuries.

READ MORE:
* Sealing work to begin on gravel stretch of Forgotten World Highway
* Taranaki truckies unhappy about SH3 detour but others welcome project
* Waka Kotahi announces $82m to be spent on ‘killer’ stretch of SH3

On Wednesday, the matter was discussed at a Taranaki Regional Transport Committee meeting.

Reference was made to unconfirmed minutes from an earlier Regional Transport Advisory Group meeting which stated it “seems” Waka Kotahi will propose a reduction to 80kmph.

South Taranaki Mayor Phil Nixon said such a move would be a “negative step”.

On Wednesday, the matter was discussed at a Taranaki Regional Transport Committee meeting.

It is believed Waka Kotahi will propose the speed limit is reduced to 80kmph.

Simon O’Connor/Stuff

It is believed Waka Kotahi will propose the speed limit is reduced to 80kmph.

He said the roads should instead be re-engineered to allow for safer driving at 100kmph.

A reduction of speed would slow traffic and impede the region’s transport needs, he added.

“I think that the economic impact on our community would be huge.

“I’m really annoyed that that’s being proposed at this point by Waka Kotahi.”

But Waka Kotahi’s Linda Stewart told the meeting the agency had not yet proposed a speed.

“We are out for speed engagement with the community. We have not stated what any speeds will or won’t be.

“We look at all factors you’ll need to towards safety, everything from enforcement to infrastructure to behaviour right through to the speed itself.”

Public feedback is open until December 13. The feedback would then inform the agency’s recommendations, she said.

But New Plymouth District councillor Harry Duynhoven believed Waka Kotahi was already set to propose the reduction.

He said the agency had previously shown the committee a map highlighting all the “black spots” across Taranaki, with proposed speed limits of 80kmph to match the road conditions.

The map had “set the tone for the future”, Duynhoven said.

“If Waka Kotahi are producing a map which says virtually all of the province’s highways will be 80kmph and aren’t proposing a major reengineering, then it looks likely that our province will be recommended to be 80kmph, regardless of whether the public want 110, 120, 130kmph because the money won’t be there to re-engineer the roads to that level.”

Stratford District Mayor Neil Volzke said his council would make a submission opposing a reduction.

He would prefer Waka Kotahi invested in the quality of roads, ensuring they were in “first class order”.

Nixon and Duynhoven indicated their district councils would make the same submission.

The Taranaki Regional Transport Committee would also pen a collective submission to the same tune, it was heard.

After listening to the feedback, Waka Kotahi’s Stewart said she felt the committee’s priority was too focussed on efficiencies and economics.

She encouraged members to better consider road safety.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *