Consultation on SH1 Kaikoura speed limits

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The NZ Transport Agency has begun consulting with the community on proposed speed limits for State Highway One both north and south of Kaikoura.

In December 2017, when SH1 re-opened after the 2016 Kaikoura earthquakes, an emergency speed limit of 80km/h was put in place on sections of the highway between the Clarence River (north of Kaikoura) and the Conway River (south of Kaikoura).

“As the emergency speed limit expires shortly, the Transport Agency is undertaking a speed management review to set permanent, safe and appropriate speeds for these sections of highway,” says Tony Spowart, NZTA principal traffic and safety engineer.

The NZTA proposes to make the 80km/h emergency speed limit permanent from Waipapa Bay to near Kiwa Road, Hapuku, north of Kaikoura, and to cover south of Kaikoura from Peketa to near Claverley Road, Conway Flats. (The coastal area speed limit in this section has been 80km/h for many years.)

Within the southern section of highway, it is also proposed to permanently reduce the speed limit through a section of the Hundalee Hills, to 60km/h. This steep, windy and challenging road has numerous curve warning signs at 25, 35 and 45km/h and there have been accidents, including fatal ones, on this section of road.

“Many of these sections of highway are bounded by railway and coast and there are a large number of high-risk curves. There is also additional risk with many people wanting to stop in the various amenity areas on this picturesque road,” says Spowart.

For the five-year period from 2012 to 2016, four people were killed and 15 people seriously injured on these sections of highway.

Extensive road repairs have continued on State Highway 1 since it was re-opened in December 2017 under an emergency speed limit of 80km/h.

“Since then up to August 2018, there have been no deaths or serious injury crashes on this road, but there have been seven crashes, with six minor injuries,” says Spowart.

NZTA’s public consultation on the proposed permanent speed limits on these sections of highway will run until Friday, 2 November 2018.