The NZ Transport Agency sought public input into proposals to set permanent new speed limits along sections of State Highway 1 both north and south of Kaikōura.

On 15 December 2017 when State Highway 1 re-opened after the 2016 Kaikōura earthquakes, an emergency speed limit of 80km/h in the areas north and south of Kaikōura was put in place for one year. The previous speed limit pre-earthquake was 100km/h.

The sections of State Highway 1 consulted on were:

  • north of Kaikōura, the coastal section of the road between Waipapa Bay to near Kiwa Road, Hapuku
  • south of Kaikōura, Peketa to south of Claverley Road, Conway Flats. This includes:
    • a proposal for the 80km/h section to extend slightly to Kaikōura Airport (Peketa) to the north and into the Hundalee Hills to the south
    • a section of SH1 in the Hundalee Hills reducing to 60km/h
    • a section of the Hundalee Hills to the south of Claverley Road, Conway Flat to 80km/h.

The permanent new speed limits as well as the investigations and subsequent evidence which led to the recommendations being made are below.

Summary report: Speed limit consultation: SH1 north and south of Kaikoura [PDF, 197 KB]

New speed limits

Location Pre-earthquake speed limit (km/h) Emergency speed limit
Permanent new speed limit* Existing typical travel speeds **
SH1 Kaikōura north – coastal section from Waipapa Bay to Kiwa Road, Hapuku
100 80 80 80-84

Narrow corridor, bounded by railway and coast. Demanding section of SH1 with a high number of highrisk and out of context curves. High tourist/amenity area with a high demand for stopping.

SH1 Kaikōura south – coastal section – Peketa to the Hundalee Hills
100 80 80 65-69
Change in environment following straight, flat section of SH1 immediately south of Kaikōura. Coastal area with high number of out of context curves. Proposal for 80km/h section to extend slightly to Kaikōura Airport to the north and into the Hundalees to the south.
SH1 Kaikōura south – the Hundalee Hills
100 80 60 55-59
Steep, challenging section of the Hundalees with a high number of vertical and horizontal curves, many posted at 25, 35 and 45km/h speed advisory.
SH1 Kaikōura south – inland section from the Hundalee
Hills to Conway Flat
100 100 80 85-89
Southern section of the Hundalees containing a number of horizontal curves and steep vertical grade. Southern threshold change where SH1 is located on straight, flat terrain (obvious change in environment).

* In place from 15 December 2018.

** Mean operating speed.

Map of new current speed limits

Map showing new current speed limits.

Community consultation

Consultation closed 5pm, 2 November 2018.

Community and stakeholder engagement

The emergency speed limits come into effect on 15 December 2018, as the emergency speed limits are due to expire that day.

Community engagement was targeted and included the NZ Police, on a local and national level, AA, Road Transport Association, Trucking New Zealand, plus Hurunui, Marlborough and Kaikōura Mayors.

Investigation and evidence

Due to the crash history on this road, the presence of roadside hazards and the hilly and winding nature of many parts of this road, the road was identified as being a high-risk route which would benefit from a speed limit reduction.

Crash history

Too many people have been killed or seriously injured on this stretch of road. Between 2012 and 2016, (the road was closed from November 2016–December 2017) there were 4 people killed and 15 people seriously injured on this road. Of all crashes on the section of the road included in this consultation north of Kaikōura, 55% were loss of control or head-on crashes on a bend, and 25% had speed as a factor.

On the road included in this consultation south of Kaikōura, 79% of crashes were loss of control or head-on crashes on a bend, and 38% had speed as a factor. Even when speed doesn’t cause a crash, it is most likely to determine whether anyone is killed, injured, or walks away unharmed.

The road was re-opened in December 2017 under an emergency speed limit of 80km/h. In the period since December 2017, extensive road repairs continued. In this period until August 2018, there have been no deaths or serious injury crashes on this road, but there have been 7 crashes, with 6 minor injuries.

We have reviewed the speeds people are currently driving the road, as well as the road itself. This review indicates 80km/h is the safe and appropriate speed to balance safety and the efficient movement of people who live, travel and work along this road with the exception of part of the road over the Hundalee Hills where 55–59km/h is the typical travel speed, and the proposal is for this section of the road to have a speed limit of 60km/h, which comes into effect 15 December 2018.