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Our vision

We all deserve a transport system that puts people at the centre – that protects and helps us to get to the places and people important to us, so we can live life to the full.

When our streets are calm and everyone travels at speeds that are appropriate for the road environment, we create inclusive, healthy and people-friendly towns and cities where we can all move around freely, no matter how we choose to travel.

We want our tamariki and future generations to have independence and freedom to thrive. We can do this by designing a transport system that allows young people to get around on their own whether walking, cycling, travelling by scooter or by bus.

In Hawke’s Bay this could mean parents can have peace of mind when tamariki walk to school because they know those travelling alongside them are in a safe system.

This is our vision for Hawke’s Bay, and an important part of Road to Zero, Aotearoa New Zealand’s road safety strategy.

Road to Zero, Aotearoa New Zealand’s road safety strategy

Our journey to a safe system

The safe system is the international gold standard in road safety management and is the approach that underpins Road to Zero.

To design transport systems with people at the centre, we need to address every part. We need speeds that suit the road and how we use it, vehicles and roads that are designed to protect people, and drivers with the right behaviours. We work alongside our partners to implement key interventions that strengthen each part of the system.

Over the last 12 months, we’ve completed the following safety improvements in the Hawke’s Bay:

  • SH2 Tahaenui bridge was widened, the last single lane bridge between Gisborne and Wairoa, as part of the Connecting Tairāwhiti programme.
  • The Waipukurau to Waipawa cycle path on SH2 opened in March, providing a scenic route for those who walk, run, cycle and use mobility scooters, improving safety and encouraging more active connections between Waipukurau and Waipawa.
  • A 600-metre section of SH2 at Raupunga alongside the railway line was relocated away from the Mokaha River as it was undermining the Raupunga Bluff. A safety barrier at the top of the cliff and a 1.5m-high by 80m-long retaining wall was also installed to mitigate any future damage to the rail infrastructure. This project was part of the Connecting Tairāwhiti programme.
  • Three slow vehicle bays were constructed at SH2/SH35 Matahorua, Kotemaori and Wharerata, as part of the SH2/SH35 passing opportunities, which forms part of the Connecting Tairāwhiti programme.
  • Safe and appropriate speeds were implemented on SH51 from Marine Parade to Waipatu, and on SH5 from Napier through to Taupō.

We also have the following safety improvements under implementation or planned:

  • Another two slow vehicle bays are being constructed at SH2/SH35 Waikoau Hill and Mohaka, progressing the SH2/SH35 passing opportunities project (part of the Connecting Tairāwhiti programme).
  • A 1.7km road realignment and passing opportunities project on SH2 is expected to be completed late 2022 between College Road to Silverstream.
  • A range of safety improvements on SH51 extending from the Ellison Street/Marine Parade intersection to Tutaekuri River bridge (including the intersections at Ellison Street/Awatoto Road/Waitangi Road and Marine Parade) are in the detailed design stage.
  • A new cycle path from Prebensen Drive to Battery Road is planned as part of the SH50 Prebensen Drive/Hyderabad project. With heavy vehicle movement, an off-road cycle path will make it safer for people cycling in the area and connect Ahuriri with the rest of the Hawke’s Bay cycle path network.

To ensure our state highways remain safe and efficient, 119.7 lane kilometres of road renewals were completed in the Hawke’s Bay region from mid 2021 to mid 2022, and 136.2 lane kilometres are planned as part of the 2022/23 road maintenance programme.

Why are we changing speed limits?

Changing speed limits comes down to what we all value most: protecting the lives of all of us who use our streets and roads.

Speed limits were first set before we fully understood what was safe and appropriate for our roads. We know this harms people we care about and have a responsibility for.

Appropriate speeds will make Hawke’s Bay more inclusive, good for our health and the environment by making it easier and more comfortable for people to walk, ride bikes and use scooters, wheelchairs and other mobility aids to get around. It also gives our tamariki the opportunity for safe, active travel to school on their own, with friends or their caregivers.

It’s our responsibility to do better.

We’re taking practical steps to ensure we’re protecting the people and communities we care about - and we welcome you to be part of that journey.

A new approach to managing speeds

Safe speeds around schools

We’re empowering our younger generations to thrive and have the freedom to walk, bus or bike to school by setting new speed limits.

We’re working together with local government on a target of all schools across Aotearoa, including kura kaupapa Māori and Kura ā Iwi, with safe and appropriate speed limits by the end of 2027. That’s approximately 2,500 schools in total, so our future generations can get around safely in ways that are good for their health and the environment.

There are several ways to achieve safe speeds around schools. Some roads may get permanent speed limits and others such as the state highway may use variable speed limits. Our approach considers the surrounding area of a school, to look after tamariki travelling further than the streets outside the front gate.

We aim to deliver safe speed limits to between 80 to 120 schools by mid 2024. The remaining schools will be delivered in our next National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) period (2024–27) because these roading environments are complex and will require longer conversations.

How school zone speed signs work

Intersection speed zones

Intersection speed zones (ISZ) are used to improve safety at rural intersections along high-speed roads. They detect when a driver is approaching on a side road and activate an electronic variable speed sign to temporarily show a lower speed limit on the main road.

The aim is to temporarily slow oncoming traffic to make it easier and safer for people to pull into or out of a side road across a high-speed rural road. This helps takes the pressure off at intersections and protects people in our community by reducing the risk and severity of crashes.

What we know about Hawke's Bay

The different ways our state highways in Hawke's Bay are being used

Hawke’s Bay is a major agricultural and food processing hub, with farms, orchards and vineyards across its plains. There is also a significant number forestry and dairy farms. Tourism and Napier Port activities are expected to grow.

The region relies on the state highway and rail networks to both move goods to market, and provide critical connections to neighbouring regions, particularly between Napier and Palmerston North. Local communities also rely on these connections to access work, school and specialist services located in Napier and Hastings.

  • SH2 and SH51 are popular routes used by many to travel to work, and to move goods through a region efficiently.
  • SH51 is one of the main roads connecting Napier, Clive and Hastings.
  • Tamariki and their caregivers often travel on state highways, as it's a main entry point for many schools.
  • SH2 is used heavily for freight, and collecting dairy, forestry and other primary produce from the source.
  • There are many sections of state highway where growth and development have changed the way people access these roads.

Findings from our analysis

As part of our analysis to determine the appropriate speed for a road, we consider the characteristics and nature of the road and its surrounding environment, how people are using the road, and collective safety risk.

The findings from our analysis around schools on State Highways 2 and 51 showed:

  • The roads are used for commuting, moving freight and tourism, and there are also a variety of road users. Lower speeds mean people driving, walking and cycling, including tamariki going to and from school will be safer and more comfortable. 

The findings from our analysis on State Highways 2 and 50 showed:

  • The intersection at SH2/SH50 (Takapau) is a high-risk location and was a committed project in the current NLTP. An intersection speed zone (ISZ) is the preferred safety improvement that would benefit this area.
  • Sections of State Highway 2 and 50 are heavily used by trucks, and recent adjacent growth and development have changed the way people access these roads.

What we've heard so far

We've had ongoing conversations with a range of partners, organisations and groups that have an interest or would be impacted by our plans to manage speed on our state highways.

Key themes we've heard from conversations:

  • Residents at the eastern end of SH50 Links Road in Napier presented a petition to Waka Kotahi, expressing their concerns about unsafe speeds and noise.
  • Reviewing the speed was also a commitment from the Pakowhai/Links Road Roundabout project.
  • There's already an acceptable level of public support for speed changes in many of the proposed locations as people feel unsafe, and in particular, concern has been raised around speeds around schools.

We've considered feedback from these conversations alongside our analysis as factors to develop our draft Interim State Highway Speed Management Plan.

Draft Interim State Highway Speed Management Plan [PDF, 24 MB]

Proposed speed limits in Hawke’s Bay

Following our analysis and conversations with partners, interested groups and organisations, we propose the following new speed limits:

Speed limit map

Map showing locations of proposed speed limit changes in Hawke's Bay

View larger map and speed limit tables [PDF, 961 KB]

Speed limit tables 

  • Speed limits around schools
    State highway School Existing speed limit (km/h)
    *variable
    Proposed new speed limit (km/h)
    *variable
    2 Wairoa College 50 50/30*
    2 Kotemaori School 100 100/≤60*
    2 Tutira School 100 100/≤60*
    2 Pukehou School 100/70* 100/≤60*
    51 Te Kura o Mangateretere 80 80/≤60*
    51 Te Aratika Academy 80 80/≤60*
    Close Back to top
  • Other speed limits
    State highway Reference number (refer to map) Location Description Existing speed limit (km/h) Proposed new speed limit (km/h)
    *variable
    2 1 SH2/SH50 intersection speed zone (ISZ) On SH2, approaching intersection with SH50 100 100/60*
    50 1 Links Road From Pakowhai roundabout to Waiohiki Road intersection 100 80
    Close Back to top

We’ll work directly with communities when we begin the implementation phase to finalise speed limit sign locations.

These new speed limits will help us take steps towards a safe system in Hawke’s Bay by:

  • ensuring state highways with a school entry point have speeds reduced to care for children travelling to and from school
  • protecting people who live and work on Links Road, which has a number of private driveways
  • reducing the risk of a crash because people will have more time to react to mistakes and avoid collisions
  • helping protect people if a crash does occur, as slower speeds result in lower crash forces. 

Have your say

To finalise our Interim State Highway Speed Management Plan, we want to hear from you.

You can submit your feedback by:

Consultation form [PDF, 283 KB]

Consultation closes at 5pm on Monday 12 December 2022.

We are striving to work with all of our communities. If you would like to receive this information translated into te reo Māori, please email us: speedmanagement@nzta.govt.nz

Kei te kaha mātou ki te mahi me ō mātou hapori katoa. Ki te hiahia koe i ēnei mōhiohio i whakamāoritia ki te reo Māori, whakapā mai i konei: speedmanagement@nzta.govt.nz