The Tauranga Eastern Link has a new speed limit and shiny new signs but the first few hours of the change have been relatively quiet.

The speed signs, installed with covers a few weeks ago, were revealed with the limits of the new 110km/h zone - the Domain Rd interchange and the Paengaroa roundabout overnight.

A Bay of Plenty Times test-drive of the 15-kilometre stretch was reasonably uneventful, clocking in at eight minutes and 46 seconds one-way, with a total cost of $4 in tolls for the round trip.

Conditions were sunny; the road was dry, and most drivers were happy to sit at the new limit, with a few staying closer to the old limit of 100km/h.


Two cars passed us in excess of 110km/h, but neither would have been going faster than 120km/h. One marked police car was seen - no lights, no sirens.

Truckies - who made up the majority of traffic - and the odd towing vehicle were well behaved, sticking to the unchanged heavy vehicle speed limit of 90km/h.

Sarah Flay, a mum-of-two from Paengaroa, said it seemed like "business as usual" when she drove the route into Papamoa this morning.

"I travel on it several times a week, and most people go 110 anyway," Flay said.

The 110km/h speed limit was also introduced on the Cambridge section of the Waikato Expressway this morning.

New Zealand Transport Agency safety director Harry Wilson said this morning the changes were "significant" milestones for Kiwi drivers.

He reiterated this morning the two roads were among the best in the country and could safely support the higher limit.

"The increasing number of deaths on our roads is unacceptable, and we're working with other agencies to create a safe transport system which is more forgiving of human error.

"For some roads, this will likely result in current speed limits being reduced to improve safety," he said.

NZTA tips

- 110km/h is a limit, not a minimum or a target
- 90km/h limit remains for heavy vehicle and towing vehicles
- Stay left unless passing
- Look out for new signage at 110km/h zone boundaries