Christmas is coming early for road safety advocates in the Hawke's Bay, with signs due to go up shortly for a new reduced speed limit on State Highway 2 between Clive and Hastings.
NZ Transport Agency acting regional state highways manager Gordon Hart says signs will be erected before Christmas posting a new permanent speed limit of 80km/h, between the existing 70km/h zones at the southern end of Clive and just north of St Georges Road in Hastings.
Mr Hart says the lower speed limit follows an extensive period of investigations and consultation with Police, AA, Hastings District Council, Napier City Council, and the local community, following a 2006 petition from residents living in the vicinity of the highway asking the speed limit to be lowered.
Mr Hart says the speed limit is now officially gazetted at 80km/h, and new signs will be in place before Christmas. Mr Hart says the change reflects the increased extent of roadside development adjacent to the highway, which has substantiated the need for a reduced speed limit.
"This is a busy road with a number of residents and businesses, and this lower speed limit acknowledges the importance of protecting the many members of the local community who live and work alongside the highway."
"We appreciate this is a long time coming, as there is an extensive process we need to follow, but we are really pleased to have this new speed limit in place and we are confident this reduction will lead to lower speeds and improved safety for both road users and residents."
"The total increase in travel time as a result of this speed reduction is just under one minute, and that's a small price to pay for a safer highway between these important centres."
Local police fully support the speed reduction and see this as a great example of the various road safety partners working together to make our roads safer, says Clint Adamson, Acting Senior Sergeant Eastern District Road Policing Group.
"There is no doubt that if vehicles are travelling at slower speeds then the potential impact from any crashes that do occur will be lessened."
"Drivers can expect to see high profile police patrols in the area to help reinforce the message that the speed limit has gone down."
The highway is identified as a high risk route by KiwiRAP, with a crash rate of 24 injury crashes per 100 million vehicle kilometres travelled, compared to the NZ average for all rural state highways of 18.