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New safer speeds for safer journeys on SH3 Napier Road

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Journeys for people traveling on State Highway 3 Napier Road between Palmerston North and Ashhurst will soon be safer, with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency announcing new safer permanent speed limits.

Proposed speed limit changes were consulted on in April and May this year after a review found the current speed limits were not safe or appropriate for the road.

From Thursday 23 June 2022, the new safer permanent speed limits on SH3 Napier Road will be:

  • 80km/h from 20m north of Sutton Place in Palmerston North to 130m east of Stoney Creek Road 
  • 60km/h in the Ashhurst township from 350m east of Hacketts Road to 500m south of Cambridge Avenue
  • 80km/h from 500m south of Cambridge Avenue to 160m northwest of State Highway 57

A variable speed zone will also be installed outside Whakarongo School, using electronic speed signs to activate a 60km/h speed limit during peak school traffic times to help keep tamariki and their whānau safe.

“Too many people have been killed or seriously injured on this stretch of road and there is community support for safer speed limits to prevent more tragedies,” says Director Regional Relationships Linda Stewart.

Between 2011-2020, there were three people killed and 80 injured in crashes on this stretch of state highway. The new safer speed limits are the first of a range of actions that will make this stretch of SH3 safer for everyone.

“As well as lowering these speed limits we’re also designing safety improvements between Keith Street and Stoney Creek Road, including new traffic signals and improved walking and cycling facilities,” says Ms Stewart.

The setting of the new permanent speed limits on SH3 Napier Road follows engagement with the Police, councils, road user groups and consultation with the public.  

“We thank everyone who provided their feedback on the proposed speed limits. 

“We also acknowledge many people think the speed limit should be even lower than 80km/h between Palmerston North and Whakarongo. We will review the speed limit on this stretch of road again once the infrastructure improvements are constructed, and the traffic signals we’re designing will support a 60km/h speed limit.

“In addition, we are now consulting on a proposal to extend the current Palmerston North urban 50km/h speed limit further east on SH3 Napier Road past the Bupa Retirement Village entrance. This idea was raised via consultation feedback and shows the importance of local insights in our consultation process.”

Construction of the infrastructure improvements is expected to begin next year, subject to funding approval.

More information on the new, safer permanent speed limits, including the consultation summary and submissions can be found on the SH3 Napier Road speed review project page.

SH3 Napier Road speed review and infrastructure improvements

This speed review supports Aotearoa New Zealand’s Road Safety Strategy, Road to Zero 2020 – 2030 and is part of a programme of work delivering safety improvements, including speed management, on our highest risk intersections and roads. Through these safety improvements, Waka Kotahi aims to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads. 

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