NZTA will not review speed
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.