Ruth is the human interest reporter and a photographer for the Bay of Plenty Times.

110km/h speed limit proposed for Tauranga Eastern Link

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The Government had propose a 110km/h speed limit on the Tauranga Eastern Link. Photo/File
The Government had propose a 110km/h speed limit on the Tauranga Eastern Link. Photo/File

The Government is looking at increasing the speed limit of the Tauranga Eastern Link to 110km/h.

Minister of Transport Simon Bridges said he was fairly certainly the speed would be raised from 100km/h to the proposed speed by August next year.

"Roads like the TEL are built to the highest safety specs. They are safer at a quicker speeds compared to other roads."

Mr Bridges said the TEL was one of many roads around the country the Government poured millions into as part of the roads of national significance programme.

Safety was still paramount on the road, he said.

"New Zealanders need to drive to the conditions. What that means [on the TEL] is different to what it means on Te Puke highway.

"Drivers should not push the speed limit. A speed limit of 110km/h means 110km/h not 111km/h or anything else and some people won't feel comfortable going that rate."

Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss said the new "speed management guide" would allow speed limits to be raised under some circumstances on some roads.

"Changes made under the guide may include altering road design, lowering speed limits, or in certain circumstances, raising them.

"To be eligible for a 110km/h limit, a road will have to meet very strict conditions, including having a median barrier, at least two lanes in each direction and no direct access to neighbouring properties."

Bay of Plenty road policing manager Inspector Brent Crowe said the proposal was not for police to comment on.

"We are aware of the proposal and will consider making submissions at the appropriate time once the consultation process begins."

Brake's New Zealand director Caroline Perry said speed was a critical factor in all crashes and casualties.

"The faster you're travelling, the greater your stopping distance is, the less time you have to react to an unexpected hazard and the bigger the impact in the event of a crash. This could mean the difference between life and death."

She was concerned an increase in speed limits could lead to more deaths and serious injuries on New Zealand roads.

Tauranga City Council Papamoa Ward councillor Leanne Brown said there had been no major incidents on the TEL since it was completed mid-2015.

"A lot of people probably travel at that speed anyway. It is a well constructed road with good visibility and a good service."

Ms Brown said she supported the proposed decision.

"It's a long straight wide road, it had dual access, a barrier down the middle and it is well lit."

Tauranga City Council Papamoa ward councillor Steve Morris agreed with the proposal.

"That, with the Bayfair to Baypark flyovers, just continues to bring Papamoa closer to Tauranga. Most drivers seem to doing 110km/h anyway, so the new speed limit is in keeping with road."

What to know:

The speed management guide will replace the speed setting guidance in the Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2003.

Consultation on the changes will begin early next year.

A 110km/h limit has been considered for some time for motorways built as part of the Government's roads of national significance programme.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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