Increase to 110kmh speed limit drafted
A new law has been drafted that will allow a 110kmh speed limit on some New Zealand roads for the first time.
The New Zealand Transport Agency announced on May 4 its draft Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits (2017) would pave the way for a 110kmh limit on roads with at least two lanes in each direction, a median barrier and no direct access to neighbouring properties.
The agency has identified 155km of highway across Auckland, Tauranga and Waikato that would be suitable for a 110kmh limit, subject to minor treatments.
In Auckland, those roads are the Johnstone’s Hill Tunnel to Lonely Track section of the Northern Motorway (SH1), the Upper Harbour Motorway (SH18), and the Takanini to Bombay section of the Southern Motorway (SH1).
The new law comes after the government released a new speed management guide in November, which proposed new rules for lowering speed limits, and altering road designs, as well as and raising limits in certain circumstances.
The agency would review all remaining four-lane motorways and expressways across country to identify what work would be required for them to become 110kmh roads.
All multi-lane highways on the agency’s drawing board are being designed to 110kmh standards.
Public consultation on the proposed new rule will be open until 5pm on June 16.
If it comes into force later this year, the agency will consult with local communities on changes to speed limits.
Safety campaigner Clive Matthew-Wilson welcomed the move towards a 110kmh limit, saying the change was keeping up with the times.
‘‘Modern highways are infinitely safer than roads of even 20 years ago, yet the speed limit has not budged,’’ he said.
‘‘Driving at 110kmh on suitable highways is far safer than driving at 100kmh on many ordinary rural roads.’’
Road safety charity Brake said it was concerned the speed limit increase could lead to more deaths and serious injuries, at a time when those were already increasing.
The criteria for a 110kmh road is it has to be a high-volume national road, and median divided, with at least two lanes in each direction and the road has to be a low crash risk area.