Possible speed limit reductions for Kapiti
Drivers north of Wellington face slower travel next year as the NZ Transport Agency floats lowered speed limits around the $630 million Kapiti expressway.
The agency proposed changes on several roads around the Mackays to Peka Peka section of the expressway, likely to open next February.
Highways manager Neil Walker said the changes would cover new and ‘‘reconfigured’’ roads around the 18km section of four-lane road.
Traffic patterns and volumes would change on the local roads around the expressway when it opened, he said.
The changes would include a sharp drop in the limit - down from 100kmh to 60kmh - on a winding section of Waterfall Rd, often used as part of a sneaky bypass of the Raumati Straights on the current State Highway 1.
Poplar Ave, on the other side of the Straights, would see a section of 80kmh road go down to 50kmh, under the proposals.
The changes were welcomed by residents along a section of Ratanui Rd set to permanently drop from 80kmh to 60kmh.
Deborah Pope lived on the bend between Ratanui Rd and Otaihanga Rd, and said it was a great idea to keep the speed limit at 60 kph: its current temporary limit due to the expressway work.
‘‘People drive far too fast around here ... . It’s a local road and school kids walk along it.
‘‘Now that we’ll have an expressway, if you want to drive fast you can go up there.’’
Pope said two cars crashed in front of her property due to excessive speed within three days of each other two years ago, when the speed limit was 80kmh.
Isabel Smith, who lived near the Mazengarb Rd intersection said she did not mind whether it was 60kmh or 80kmh.
‘‘There’s always people going a speed down here no matter what you put. I don’t really care.
‘‘It’s safe enough ... but the trouble is when it’s 80, people do 90 or 100.’’
The agency was taking feedback on the proposals till January 31, with the proposed changes available online.
‘‘The Kapiti Coast community know the local roads and how people use them so it’s important to us that we hear their thoughts on what they think the safe speed limits should be,’’ Walker said.
Kapiti mayor K Gurunathan said it made sense that the agency deal with the sections of road built for or modified by the expressway.