Speed drop for Christmas on the way
The speed limit along a deadly stretch of State Highway 60 near Richmond is on track to be lowered to 80kmh in time for Christmas.
Tasman District Council plans to lower the speed limit on several of its roads around the highway at the same time as the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) formalises the proposed change for SH60 between Maisey and McShane roads.
The increasingly busy section of the highway has been the site of multiple fatal and serious crashes in recent years.
As well as being a key commuter route for Nelson city and Tasman district residents, many visitors travel along it to reach popular tourist destinations such as Kaiteriteri, Abel Tasman National Park and Golden Bay.
The planned change to the speed limit on that section of highway will make the entire stretch between Three Brothers Corner at Richmond and the Maisey Rd intersection an 80kmh zone.
Council transportation manager Jamie McPherson on Thursday outlined for councillors an early December target date for the implementation of the changes, based on discussions with NZTA.
‘‘We agreed that a likely date, if both approval processes run to plan, is the 10th of December, so that would be the target date,’’ McPherson said.
The new 80kmh stretch was to begin on ‘‘the Motueka side of the Maisey Rd intersection’’, he said, which meant the change from a 100kmh zone to an 80kmh limit would be on a rise.
McPherson said he believed NZTA had ordered some driver electronic speed feedback signs. While he was not sure of the planned location for the signs, ‘‘certainly, that approach towards Maisey Rd as you come from 100kmh into 80kmh would be a logical place for it’’.
Councillors agreed to approve amendments to the council Speed Limits Bylaw 2016, which means the 100kmh section of Lower Queen St along with Lansdowne Rd, Best Island Rd, Blackbyre Rd, Redwood Rd, Research Orchard Rd and Pukeko Lane will drop to 80kmh, while Barnett Ave and River Rd will be lowered to 60kmh.
It comes after 222 submissions were received on the proposed changes following a joint council-NZTA public consultation. Most of the submitters supported lower speed limits.
Cr Stuart Bryant, who was chairman of a hearing panel that also heard from 10 oral submitters, said lower speed limits wouldn’t be a ‘‘cure-all’’.
‘‘But it will certainly help . . . it will be one contributing factor to lowering deaths on that section of road and the roads around it,’’ Bryant said.
Cr Dean McNamara asked about other areas of the district where residents wanted speed limits reduced on council roads.
McPherson said the council was asking for feedback from the community ‘‘on where they would like to see speed limit changes’’.
‘‘We’re developing a long list at the moment,’’ he said. ‘‘That long list will be . . . considered to develop a short list, and that’s going to be early next year.’’
The council would then look at consulting on some of those changes, ‘‘and we’ve talked about some of them – Dovedale, Ngatimoti – and there are a number of others that also need to be considered that are just as worthy’’, McPherson said.
‘‘It will be one contributing factor to lowering deaths on that section of road and the roads around it.’’
Tasman district councillor
The stretch of State Highway 60 between Three Brothers Corner at Richmond and the Maisey Rd intersection has been the site of multiple fatal and serious crashes in recent years, including this three-vehicle crash in January. It will become an 80kmh zone next month.