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SH94 Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound speed consultation

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Project introduction

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency consulted recently on proposals to set new permanent speed limits on three sections of SH94 between the eastern entrance to the Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound. A decision on these proposals is expected in the first half of 2021.

  • Project type

    Speed review

Project updates

Information sheet and feedback form
Public consultation, (PDF)

Post-consultation stage

To make the most informed decision, we carefully considered the information we received through the submissions from the consultation. Changing speed limits is a legal process and takes time with numerous steps we had to carefully followed once after completing our analysis.

Speed review process

What we know

Between 2009 and 2018 there were 76 crashes on SH94 between the eastern entrance of the Homer Tunnel and Milford Sound. Three people died and eight were seriously injured. Just over 40 percent of the 76 crashes were between 2016 to 2018.

We’ve talked to locals, Southland District Council and others and they want the existing speed limits reduced on the 17km section of SH94 from the eastern entrance of the Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound. People have told us the alpine terrain this road travels through and big increases in traffic contributes to the current speed limits not being safe.

Other reasons people gave us for wanting lower speed limits were the large numbers of drivers are using this road are first time with little experience of driving such a challenging road, and the many people who leave their vehicles near the tunnel entrances to view the stunning scenery. This makes distracted pedestrians near the road a real safety risk.

What we’re proposing

Based on what we know, we think the following would be safer speeds on this section of road:

Location Current speed limit Proposed speed limit Current mean average speed
Replacing the current 100km/h speed limits on the eastern approach to the Homer Tunnel (1km) and western approach (2km) and through the Homer Tunnel (1.7km) with a variable 30–60km/h limit. 100km/h Variable 30–60km/h* 50–55km/h
From the western approach to the Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound (14km) an 80km/h limit in place of the existing mix of 100km/h and 80km/h limits. 80–100km/h 80km/h 55-59km/h
Extending the current 30km/h limit in Milford Sound to the east of the Deep Water Basin Road on a 500m section of SH94 with an 80km/h limit. 80km/h 30km/h 50–59km/h

*The variable speed limit will be used to safely manage highway issues for weather events, traffic congestion and for motorist safety in events such as crashes and rockfalls.

Speed review area

How speed reviews work

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