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Waka Kotahi consulting on new speeds for SH51 and SH5

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Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is proposing new speed limits for two Hawke’s Bay highways to improve safety for all road users, with formal consultation underway from this week.

Speed limits are being reviewed on State Highway 51 (SH51), between Waipatu in Hastings and Marine Parade in Napier, and the winding section of State Highway 5 (SH5), from Rangitaiki to Esk Valley in an effort to save lives and prevent serious injuries from crashes along these high-risk roads.

Director of Regional Relationships Emma Speight says from 2010, more than 150 people have either lost their life or been seriously injured in crashes on these two state highways.

“We want everyone who uses our roads to get to where they’re going safely. Even when speed doesn’t cause a crash, it is always a factor in the severity and can be the difference between a person being killed, seriously injured, or walking away from a crash,” Ms Speight says.

Waka Kotahi is formally consulting on proposed speed changes on SH51 and SH5, and at the same time, will be asking for feedback on the remaining sections of SH5 including Esk Valley and the Rangitaiki Straights.

“These sections have been chosen because they have a high crash risk and we know that lower speed limits save lives. We also know that communities want to see speeds be lowered in the areas where serious crashes are occurring,” Ms Speight says.

The introduction of safer speed limits is part of Road to Zero 2020-30, New Zealand’s road safety strategy, and aligns with the safe system approach, which acknowledges that even responsible people make mistakes on our roads and aims to minimise the impact of those errors.

“This is something we can do to prevent deaths and help us to achieve our Road to Zero target to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads by 40 percent over the next 10 years. However, speed is only one part of the puzzle.”

An additional $2.5 million has been secured for safety improvements on SH5. These improvements will be focused on the section of road from Ohurakura Road in Te Pōhue to Waipunga Gorge lookout carpark, and will include side barriers, road markings and rumble lines.

These improvements will be implemented over the next four months.

Waka Kotahi is also exploring further improvements between Marine Parade and Awatoto, including the possibility of re-purposing the southbound passing lane to help improve the right turn out of Awatoto Road.

The speed review supports the Waipatu Community Plan, Hasting District Council’s speed review proposal for the side roads in this area and the Provincial Growth funded safety improvements.

“We want to hear from the community and people who use SH51 and SH5 regularly what they think about the new speed limits we are proposing for the sections of roads we are consulting on. This will help us decide whether to proceed with the proposed lower speeds, as well as helping us identify any concerns that a technical speed assessment may not have considered,” says Ms Speight.

“This feedback will be considered by Waka Kotahi before we make decisions on these proposed speed limit changes. The consultation period provides a month for people to give their feedback on the proposed changes.”

The formal consultation period began on Monday 12 April, and closes at 11pm on Sunday 9 May 2021.

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