New speed limits on the oceanfront highway south of Napier will take effect on Friday.
The changes include dropping the limit from 100km/h to 80km/h on a section of State Highway 51 (formerly State Highway 2) between Napier and Clive, and follow public consultation undertaken by national highways agency Waka Kotahi NZTA this year.
They are among the measures being taken to improve road safety amid concerns over the high crash and fatalities rate in the past decade, with five fatalities in just one 3km section between Napier and Awatoto in less than three years.
Work crews have been preparing for the changes, which include reducing limits to 60km/h on the southern approach to Clive and the northern approach to Hastings through Waipatu.
Signage will be completed before the new limits come into effect.
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Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency director of regional relationships Linda Stewart said its top priority was to improve safety.
"To save lives and reduce serious injuries, we need to tackle unsafe speeds. The speed limits on this section of State Highway 51 were not safe and appropriate for the road, even for the best drivers, which is why we are introducing safer new speed limits."
Decisions on the safer new speed limits were based on the technical assessment of the road, which considers factors like crash history, road environment and speeds that people generally travel at, as well as feedback received during the consultation from the general public and stakeholders.
The consultation for the SH51 speed review was combined with the consultation and engagement for the State Highway 5 (SH5) speed review.
The speed review for SH51 was completed first, as there were fewer submissions and consequently less time was required to work through these than for SH5.
Waka Kotahi will announce the decision for SH5 speeds once the review and technical analysis of the road is complete. This is expected by the end of the year.