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Variable speeds for SH29 Kaimai Range

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Speeds will vary depending on the weather under a trial which gets underway later this year across 12km of this key route.

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A 12km stretch of the highway between SH28 on the Waikato side and Soldiers Rd on the Tauranga side will be part of the two year trial, the first of its kind in the country.

It’s a high volume national strategic route with around 9,000 vehicles a day, including 1300 heavy vehicles, where safety, efficiency and reliability are vital. It’s also a route known for its steep landscape and unpredictable weather year round.

Four web cams and 22 electronic variable signs will be activated in adverse weather, with speed limits typically reduced to 60km/h on the steeper Waikato side of the summit and 80km/h on the Tauranga flank, depending on the weather.

The weather station at the summit of the Range will provide real time weather information, which the Transport Agency will monitor 24/7.

The aim of the trial is to see whether safe and appropriate speeds can be achieved with drivers altering driving behaviour in bad weather.

Recent data shows over 70% of crashes on the Kaimai Range were in wet weather, with over 40% of these from those driving too fast for the conditions.

The signs will also have the ability to show speeds from 30 km/h in the event of extreme weather or for road crashes or road works.

If successful it may be rolled out across similar sites in the country.

Managing speeds is a crucial part of the Safer Journeys(external link) road safety strategy.

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