SH5 speed limit implementation


A new, safer 80km/h speed limit for the 76km winding section of State Highway 5 between Rangitaiki and Esk Valley will come into effect this Friday (18 February).

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Director of Regional Relationships, Linda Stewart says together with future safety improvements to the road, the lower speed limit will make everyone’s journeys on this road significantly safer.

“Reducing unsafe speed limits is the most effective and immediate way we can dramatically improve safety for everyone who uses this road.

“Something we can all agree on is that any deaths and serious injuries on this section of road are unacceptable. We all want the road to be safer.

“There are many reasons crashes happen and we need a mix of solutions that all work together to keep people safe. We need everyone making safe choices, in safe vehicles, on safe roads and travelling at safe speeds. Improving people’s skills and deterring risk-taking behaviour are still critical, but this alone will not fix the problem,” says Ms Stewart.

The decision on the new speed limit was based on a thorough technical assessment of the road, which considered factors like crash history, road environment and speeds that people generally travel at, as well as feedback received during consultation from the public and stakeholders.

“While many would like the 100km/h speed limit to remain, the evidence clearly shows that it is not safe for this section of road, even for the best drivers.

“We recognise that some community leaders want further analysis to demonstrate that the lower speed limit is appropriate.

“We are committed to completing an evaluation of the change 12 months after the new speed limit has been in place, which will consider the safety, economic and social impacts of the 80km/h speed limit being introduced on 76km of this 122km section of SH5 between Napier and Taupō.

“Safe and appropriate speed limits are just one part of a larger programme of work to make SH5 safer for everyone who uses it. Waka Kotahi is also looking at investments in safety improvements, such as shoulder widening, wide centrelines, side barriers and some intersection improvements, as well as the annual maintenance programme to repair and renew the highway,” says Ms Stewart.

In addition to the safety improvements, Waka Kotahi will be working with partners on a Programme Business Case, which will develop a long-term improvement strategy for SH5.

“The business case will set out a long-term vision for SH5 and inform future improvements to the corridor. The feedback we received during the speed review process will be a key part of shaping this direction,” says Ms Stewart. 

The new speed limit will come into effect from Friday 18 February 2022, with signs displaying the new, safer 80km/h speed limit.

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