Project introduction

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has set permanent new speed limits on SH3 between Waitara and Bell Block.


In November and December 2019, Waka Kotahi consulted with stakeholders and the public on safe and appropriate speeds for the two 100km/h sections of State Highway 3 (SH3) between Waitara and Bell Block in Taranaki.

This is one the busiest roads in the region, carrying a combination of commuter, tourist and long-haul freight traffic but a high number of crashes occur on the route.

Extensive community engagement both on speed limits and proposed safety improvement treatments was undertaken during the development of the SH3 Waitara to Bell Block safety improvements business case in 2017 and 2018. Engagement feedback showed people supported making the speed limit a consistent 80km/h along the route. This sentiment was confirmed through consultation on the new speed limits.

Physical safety improvements, including roundabouts for high-risk intersections, wide centrelines and median barrier are currently being designed for the route. The new speed limits will help prevent deaths and serious injuries on the highway immediately and support the physical improvements once they are made. 

Find out more about the physical safety improvements planned for the route

Permanent speed limits

The following speed limits were proposed during consultation and have been set as the new permanent speed limits. The new permanent speed limits take effect from Friday 18 December 2020.

Location Existing speed limit New speed limit from 18 December 2020
360m East of Mahoetahi Rd to 400m West of Princess St 100km/h 80km/h
430m East of Princess St to 300m East of Bayly St 100km/h 80km/h

Map showing new speed limits on SH3 between Waitara and Bell Block

Investigation and evidence

The speed review process involves numerous steps that help determine the speed limit we propose at consultation. We complete a technical assessment which takes into account the road itself, the traffic volumes, the crash history, and the way people are currently travelling on the roads. We engaged with road user groups, members of the public, councils, local iwi, AA and the police to provide further feedback and conclude the safe and appropriate speed limits. The speed limit of 80km/h was assessed to be the safe and appropriate speed for the entire route between Waitara and Bell Block. 

Crash history

There have been 101 crashes on this route between 2009 and 2018. Seven people died and 14 were seriously injured.

Travel times

The new permanent speed limits will have minimal impact on travel times. Based on current operating speeds, the increase in travel time will be less than 20 seconds.

Frequently asked questions

Find out more about the SH3 Waitara to Bell Block permanent speed limits by reading the frequently asked questions.

Frequently asked questions 

Consultation and submissions

Public consultation closed on 15 December 2019.

77 submissions were received during the consultation period from stakeholder organisations and the public (note: two submissions were made by one person).

Consultation summary [PDF, 533 KB]

Consultation submissions [PDF, 7.1 MB]

How speed reviews work

More information about speed and the speed review process is available on the Speed Review Programme webpage.