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Lower speed limit confirmed on State highway for two Central Otago towns


The speed limit on State highway 85 through Omakau will drop by 20km/h in time for the Christmas holiday break.

The NZ Transport Agency has confirmed that it will reduce the speed limit on State highway 85 though the township from 70km/h to 50km/h in order to improve safety for road users and residents. New speed limit signs go up over the next few days in time for the upcoming holiday period.

NZ Transport Agency Central Otago Area Manager John Jarvis says a review of the speed limit in Omakau was prompted by on-going concerns about vehicle speeds through the town and follows extensive consultation involving the Police, AA, and the Central Otago District Council.

Mr Jarvis said the lower speed limits were squarely aimed at improving safety, and have strong community support. He said the lower limits were being introduced as part of the NZTA’s ‘safe system’ approach to road safety.
"We’re aiming to reduce deaths and serious injuries by taking action in four key areas – safe roads and roadsides, safe vehicles, safe road use and safe speeds.

"The NZTA is making significant investments in safety improvements on the region’s roads, we are working with police to promote safe driving through advertising and enforcement, and we are encouraging people to buy the safest vehicles they can afford.

"In addition to investing in safer roads and roadsides and promoting safer driving and safer vehicles, we’re also aiming to lower travel speeds and set speed limits that are appropriate for the function and level of safety on a particular road, and that are obvious and make sense to most drivers. Increasingly this will see road user’s travel at the speed limit for that road and this new lower speed limit should help to achieve that in Omakau.”

Confirmation of another State highway speed limit change in Central Otago will see the temporary 80km/h limit on State highway 6 and State highway 8B at Cromwell become permanent. New speed limit signs will be erected this week at this busy section of highway.

Mr Jarvis said this new limit extends out to Shortcut Road on the Wanaka leg of the intersection, where a recently widened left turn lane has been installed to improve safety.