In a joint effort to increase road safety in the Tasman District, the NZ Transport Agency is lowering speed limits on a busy stretch of State Highway 60 between Richmond and Motueka, in time for Christmas. The Tasman District Council is also lowering speeds on a number of adjoining roads at the same time.
“Over the three years from 2015 to 2017, between McShane Road and Maisey Road on SH60, there were six crashes where five people died and eight people were seriously injured.*
Reducing the speed limits will improve safety, and help make those crashes that do happen survivable,” says Transport Agency Director Regional Relationships Jim Harland.
“Making one mistake on the road should not end a life. The lives changed when someone dies or is seriously injured on our roads extends to family and friends and impacts upon the whole community,” he says.
“Even when speed doesn’t cause the crash, it will determine whether anyone is killed, injured, or walks away unharmed. Higher speeds increase the risk of making mistakes, reduce time available to react and increase braking time, making severe crashes more likely.”
The new State Highway 60 speed limit of 80 km/h will apply from Tuesday, 18 December, between McShane Road in Appleby to Maisey Road overlooking the Waimea Inlet. Nine adjoining roads managed by Tasman District will also have their speed limits lowered.
“The lower speed limit is in response to concerns about this section of highway for some time, combined with community requests for safer speeds and subsequent public consultation,” Mr Harland says.
Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne says the lower speed limits will contribute to safer trips for Tasman locals and visitors alike. “The change won’t make a big difference to travel times on this route, adding a few minutes at most. Please be patient and obey the new limits – they are changing to make this route safer for everyone.”
Signs will advertise the new 80km/h speed limits on the roads with additional electronic signs flashing “Slow Down” if drivers exceed 80 km/h.
As well as State Highway 60, between McShane and Maisey Roads, Lower Queen St will be 80km/h from west of Swamp Road to the end of the road, as well as the full lengths of Lansdowne Road, Best Island Road, Blackbyre Road, Redwood Road, Research Orchard Road and Pukeko Lane. Barnett Ave and Appleby’s River Road will go to 60km/h. (See map below).
“Taking a road network approach to the speed limit reduction avoids people ‘rat-running’ by choosing less busy local roads over the highway and it also avoids confusion when people go onto or off the main highway onto the adjoining roads,” says Mr Harland.
The Transport Agency has installed minor safety improvements along State Highway 60 in recent years including side barriers and intersection improvements.
“The changes received support from the local community, Police, the Road Transport Association and the Automobile Association, as well as Tasman District Council and the Transport Agency” Mr Harland says.
Background on this project and map of the roads involved: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/sh60-speed-limit-consultation/
*An earlier statistic counted deaths and serious injuries on a longer stretch of highway from Richmond to King Edward St, Motueka ie from 2015 to 2017, there were 12 crashes where eight people died and 12 people were seriously injured on this longer stretch of highway.