Traffic has become so busy on state highways through Hamilton that speed limits are likely to be cut on some sections to make them safer.

Public consultation has opened on NZTA proposal to reduce speed limits on State Highways 1, 3 and 26 in Hamilton to prevent deaths and serious injuries.

NZTA regional relationships director Steve Mutton says, "There are many cyclists, pedestrians and a greater mix of vehicle types using the state highway network in this urban environment. Ensuring safer speed limits is a relatively simple way to help reduce those safety risks for all road users."

NZTA says in a statement the proposed changes are designed to make sure that the speed limits are safe and appropriate; 10 people lost their lives along state highways in Hamilton between 2009 and 2018.

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Proposed changes include lowering the speed limit from 60km/h to 50km/h on SH3 along Ohaupo Rd to the Kahikatea Drive intersection by Waikato Hospital, which has reported 330 crashes including 16 serious injuries between 2009-2018 and along Morrinsville Rd in Hillcrest, which has had reported 27 crashes including three serious injuries within the same timeframe.

Last year, the Waikato region recorded 52 deaths on its roads, the highest number in the country.

Mutton says, "We need to do something to turn this around. No matter what causes a crash, speed is always a factor in the severity. Put simply, the speed of impact can be the difference between walking away or being carried away from a crash."

The Hamilton City Council manages and implements speed limit changes on roads within the city, while the NZTA manages the speeds for the state highways. Both the council and NZTA have worked together on speed management. The new proposal by NZTA is consistent with the council's approach to speed on roads within the city.

Consultation on the proposed changes will run until 5pm on Friday, August 21. For further information and how to make submissions on these proposed changes, click here (