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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. 

Our region’s state highway network is made up of all types of roads – ranging from major motorways to rural routes, and the main streets of our towns. Wellington is connected to the rest of the North Island via SH1 passing through Kāpiti and Horowhenua towards Manawatū, and via SH2 through Wairarapa towards Hawke's Bay. Other state highways provide local connections including SH58 linking Porirua and the Hutt Valley and SH53 connecting Featherston to Martinborough. Since the opening of the Transmission Gully Motorway, SH59 is an alternative coastal route between Porirua and Kāpiti.

Across the region we’re developing projects that will make it safer to move around. These range from major projects (new motorways and expressways, separated cycling routes and interchange upgrades), to targeted safety improvements, and implementing appropriate speed limits.

This is our vision for Greater Wellington 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 few years, we’ve completed the following projects and safety improvements in Greater Wellington:


  • New speed limits were implemented on SH1 East of Mount Victoria.
  • Transmission Gully Motorway Te Aranui o Te Rangihaeata was opened, providing a safe, modern and reliable route in and out of Wellington.


  • The SH2 Cornish Street intersection in Petone was closed to help prevent unsafe wrong-way driving.
  • Three safer pedestrian crossings were built in Wairarapa towns.


  • New speed limits were implemented on SH58 and connected local roads, in partnership with local councils.
  • Road safety barriers were installed from SH2 to Mount Cecil Road.

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


  • Construction of the Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway.
  • Construction of corridor improvements on old SH1 replaced by the Mackays to Peka Peka and Peka Peka to Ōtaki sections of Kāpiti Expressway. Work is underway to remove the state highway status from the old SH1 and make it fit for purpose as a local road, with ownership and management being transferred to Kāpiti Coast District Council.
  • New median barriers, painted wide centrelines, and roadside barriers at some locations along State Highway 1 from Ōtaki (where the new Expressway will end) to Levin.


  • Construction of Te Ara Tupua, providing a separated and safe cycling route between Wellington and Lower Hutt.
  • Construction is underway on SH2 Masterton to Carterton to add three new roundabouts and install road safety barriers. A separate programme is delivering safer pedestrian crossings in Masterton, Carterton, Greytown and Featherston.
  • Planning the new SH2 Melling interchange as part of the RiverLink partnership.
  • Three dangerous intersections are being improved on SH2 through the Hutt Valley by mid-2024, with more to follow in the next three-year funding period.
  • SH2 Remutaka Hill will have new roadside safety barriers, markings and signage, with part of the project delivered by mid 2024.
  • Implementing safe speed limits between Masterton and Featherston.


  • Planning the final stage of SH58 safety improvements (median and side barriers, and two new roundabouts) from Harris Road to SH1 Transmission Gully.

To ensure our state highways remain safe and efficient, 67 lane kilometres of road renewals were completed in the Greater Wellington region from mid 2021 to mid 2022, and 88.9 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 knew 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 Greater Wellington 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

What we know about Greater Wellington

The different ways our state highways in Greater Wellington are being used

The state highway network in our region ranges from modern motorways and expressways, to narrow rural roads, and urban streets through town centres.

Our main north-south state highway spines, SH1 and SH2, are crucial corridors connecting the Lower North Island to Wellington and to the South Island via the Cook Strait ferries. They’re essential for the movement of goods and people, with thousands of commuter journeys and freight movements each day.

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 on State Highways 1 and 2 showed:


  • The construction of the Kāpiti Expressway means that in future, the ‘old’ State Highway 1 will no longer be required to function as a state highway, and will be transferred to Kāpiti Coast District Council to operate as a local road, when changes to the roads have been constructed. The Mackays to Peka Peka section of the expressway opened in 2017 and the Peka Peka to Ōtaki section is expected to open at the end of 2022.
  • Waka Kotahi and the Kāpiti Coast District Council have been working together to improve the old SH1 corridor before this transfer occurs. These corridor improvements projects aim to ensure the road is fit for its new purpose and is safe for all users. This includes setting appropriate speed limits on some parts.


  • In the Hutt Valley, the most significant safety issues are at the intersections along the route. Several of these intersections have high approach speeds of 100km/h and are controlled by traffic lights, or not controlled at all. When mistakes happen at high speed at these types of intersections, the most severe crashes can occur.
  • Over past years we have upgraded some intersections to be new interchanges which are safer, but these projects require significant time and resource. A new interchange will soon be built at Melling as part of RiverLink, and safety improvements are being designed for other intersections, which will include appropriate speed limits for some locations.
  • Over the Remutaka Hill, the winding narrow road cannot be safely driven at high speeds. A lower speed limit will reflect appropriate operating speeds on the route.
  • North of Masterton, urban growth is moving beyond the former edge of town with new retirement village developments and other homes being built. A lower speed limit will make this area safer as more people walk, cycle and drive in the area, including higher numbers of elderly people.

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.

We’ve also engaged with the community on safety issues and current speed limits on some parts of the network which are included in the draft Interim State Highway Speed Management Plan. We engaged with the community in Kāpiti about safety and speed on the ‘old’ SH1 in April and May 2021, and we engaged the community in the Hutt Valley and Wairarapa about their experiences on SH2 through from Ngāūranga to Featherston in September and October 2021.

Key themes we’ve heard from these conversations:

  • On the ‘old’ SH1 through Kāpiti (the sections that will be replaced as the main State Highway route when both sections of expressway are opened), some people felt that the 100km/h speed limit outside of the towns should be retained, while others supported lower speed limits of 80km/h. In the towns some people supported lower speed limits of 50km/h, 40km/h or 30km/h.
  • On SH2 in the Hutt Valley, people who gave feedback agreed there was a safety risk at many of the intersections, but wanted to see journey times maintained as much as possible. Many people hoped to see more investment in major upgrades (like new interchanges – with overbridges and on- and off-ramps) in the long term.

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, 25 MB]

Proposed speed limits in Greater Wellington

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 Greater Wellington

View larger map and speed limit tables [PDF, 904 KB]

Speed limit tables

  • Speed limits around schools
    State highway School Existing speed limit (km/h) Proposed new speed limit (km/h)
    2 St Patrick's School (Masterton) 50 50/30*
    2 Hadlow Preparatory School 50 50/30*
    2/53 Featherston School 50 50/30*
    59 Pukerua Bay School 50 50/30*

    These new speed limits will help us take steps towards a safe system by ensuring state highways with a school entry point have speeds reduced to care for children travelling to and from school.

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  • New speed limits at the Ngāūranga interchange
    State highway Reference number (refer to map) Location Description Existing speed limit (km/h) Proposed new speed limit (km/h)
    1 1 SH1 Ngāūranga northbound on-ramp including links Hutt Road to SH1 80 50
    1 2 SH1 Ngāūranga southbound off-ramp including links SH1 to Hutt Road 80 50
    2 1 SH2 Ngāūranga southbound off-ramp including links SH2 to Hutt Road 80 50
    2 2 SH2 Ngāūranga northbound on-ramp including links Hutt Road to SH2 80 50

    These new speed limits will help us take steps towards a safe system by integrating with speed changes to be proposed on Hutt Road and Thorndon Quay as part of the Let’s Get Wellington Moving project to provide safe and reliable travel choices for everyone, consistent with Wellington City Council’s approach to speed management.

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  • New speed limits on State Highway 2
    State highway Reference number (refer to map) Location Description Existing speed limit (km/h)
    Proposed new speed limit (km/h)
    2 3 Masterton north Cashmere Oaks Drive to Paierau Road 100 80
    2 4 Carterton variable speed area - removal Removal of intersection speed zone at intersection between SH2 and East Taratahi Road 100/70* 80
    2 5 Featherston south West of Renall St to northwest of Renall Street 100 80
    2 6 Remutaka Hill Northwest of Renall St to south of Marchant Road 100 60
    2 7 Kaitoke to Te Mārua (Upper Hutt) South of Marchant Road to northeast of Twin Lakes Road 100 80
    2 8 Brown Owl urban North of Akatarawa Road to west of Mangaroa Hill Road 70 50
    2 9 Moonshine Hill Road East of Moonshine Hill Road to west of Moonshine Hill Road – northbound only 100 60
    2 10 Owen Street to Grounsell Crescent In both directions for Owen Street to Grounsell Crescent 100 80

    These new speed limits will help us take steps towards a safe system by:

    • Integrating with the first stage of planned improvements to SH2 in the Hutt Valley. Specifically at the Moonshine Hill Road intersection, where new traffic signals and raised safety platforms will be added to provide safe right-turning access to and from Moonshine Hill Road and Riverstone Terraces.
    • Improving safety over the Remutaka Hill between Upper Hutt and Featherston. This includes setting appropriate speed limits for the road where it passes through the urban areas north of Upper Hutt (Brown Owl). In this area there are many side streets and driveways.
    • Removing an Intersection Speed Zone (variable speed limit) north of Carterton. This is no longer required, because the intersection of SH2 with Wiltons Road and East Taratahi is currently being upgraded to a new, safe roundabout.
    • Providing a safe speed environment north of Masterton where increasing urban development, including new retirement village development, means there are growing numbers of people travelling in the area.
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  • New speed limits on State Highway 1
    Reference Reference number (refer to map) Location Description Existing speed limit (km/h) Proposed new speed limit (km/h)
    1 3 Peka Peka to Ōtaki expressway N/A N/A 100
    1 4 Ōtaki southbound off-ramp North end of Ōtaki N/A 50
    1 5 Ōtaki northbound on-ramp North end of Ōtaki N/A 50
    1 6 Ōtaki southbound on-ramp On Ōtaki Gorge Road N/A 60
    1 7 Ōtaki northbound off-ramp On Ōtaki Gorge Road N/A 60
    1 8 Taylors Road to Waitohu Valley Road N/A 100 60
    1 9 Mill Road roundabout to Waerenga Road N/A 50 40
    1 10 Waerenga Road to Riverbank Road N/A 70 50
    1 11 Riverbank Road to Ōtaki Gorge Road N/A 100 60
    1 12 Ōtaki Gorge Road to Te Horo N/A 100 80
    1 13 Te Horo to Te Kowhai Road N/A 100 80
    1 14 Peka Peka to Hemi Street N/A 100 80
    1 15 Ihakara Street to Raumati Road N/A Various 50
    1 16 Raumati Road to SH1 N/A 100 80
    1 17 Poplar Avenue southbound on-ramp N/A 100 80
    1 18 Poplar Avenue northbound off-ramp N/A 100 80
    1 19 Poplar Avenue interchange N/A 100 80

    These new speed limits will help us take steps towards a safe system by:

    • Setting an appropriate speed limit for the Peka Peka to Ōtaki section of the Kāpiti Expressway, and its new on- and off-ramps at Ōtaki ahead of the new road opening.
    • Setting appropriate speed limits on the ‘old’ State Highway 1, which is being transferred to Kāpiti Coast District Council following the completion of the Mackays to Peka Peka and Peka Peka to Ōtaki sections of the Kāpiti Expressway. The process of transferring the road from a state highway to local road is known as revocation, and projects are underway to prepare the roads for the transfer of ownership and management. New speed limits integrate with changes to the design of these roads to make them fit-for-purpose for their new role.
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Have your say

Consultation on the Interim State Highway Speed Management Plan closed on 12 December 2022.

We’re considering feedback from this consultation alongside existing information to finalise the interim plan, and will share an update in early 2023.

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:

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: