NZTA will not re­view speed

South Canterbury Herald - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD

The NZ Trans­port Agency (NZTA) has ruled out a re­view of speed lim­its in the South Can­ter­bury town­ship of Burkes Pass, but is con­sid­er­ing lim­its through the nearby tourist hotspot of Tekapo.

Macken­zie Dis­trict Mayor Gra­ham Smith and res­i­dents have been cam­paign­ing for the speed limit through the Burkes Pass town­ship to be re­duced from 80kmh to 60kmh fol­low­ing nu­mer­ous re­ports of near-misses and high speeds in the area.

NZTA se­nior traf­fic en­gi­neer David Scar­let said in a state­ment to Stuff it was ‘‘cur­rently not re­view­ing speed lim­its through Burkes Pass’’ but was ‘‘work­ing on a speed limit re­view through Tekapo‘‘.

Burkes Pass res­i­dent Julie Greig, who has been cam­paign­ing for bet­ter road safety mea­sures in the town­ship, said she was dis­ap­pointed but not sur­prised.

‘‘They just don’t seem to lis­ten to the lo­cals,’’ Greig said.

The agency has been in the fir­ing line af­ter Smith re­cently slammed what he per­ceived to be a lack of ac­tion from NZTA on re­duc­ing speed lim­its in po­ten­tially high-risk ar­eas such as Burkes Pass and Tekapo.

Smith said speed was an is­sue sev­eral may­ors had been grap­pling with. He was look­ing for­ward to meet­ing with As­so­ciate Trans­port Min­is­ter Julie Anne Gen­ter to dis­cuss the is­sue next month.

Waitaki MP Jac­qui Dean also sup­ported calls for lower speed lim­its through Burkes Pass and Tekapo.

‘‘It’s a case of us­ing com­mon sense and lis­ten­ing to lo­cals,’’ she said.

‘‘I drive on these roads reg­u­larly and know them very well, but not nearly as well as those who live and work there. The ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge of res­i­dents is in­valu­able - they are show­ing gen­uine con­cern that should be taken se­ri­ously.’’

In a state­ment, Gen­ter said on a num­ber of roads the speed limit is too high for the high-risk na­ture of the road.

‘‘The Gov­ern­ment is mak­ing safety a higher pri­or­ity and is keen to work with coun­cils and com­mu­ni­ties that want safer roads and safer speed lim­its.’’

How­ever, Gen­ter said the NZTA would ul­ti­mately de­cide if changes are ap­pro­pri­ate.

These de­ci­sions would be in­formed by con­sul­ta­tion with the af­fected com­mu­ni­ties, she said.

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