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.

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