The speed limit along a dangerous section of Northland highway is set to reduce, but how slow drivers go will depend on public feedback.
The 80km/h zone on SH1, between Rewa Rewa Rd and Murdoch Cres at Otaika, is set to contain a new McDonald's by the end of the year, and already has a Gull Service Station and the multiple big box retailers on feeder streets.
Whangarei MP Dr Shane Reti said nearby residents felt the road was unsafe, while business owners had reported seeing collisions "every day, or at least every other day".
The new McDonald's would have its access off Tauroa St, which came off SH1 next to Gull.
Dr Reti said this would add to the pressure on the already busy intersection.
"Residents were concerned the intersection was dangerous to get across, especially with a trailer, and especially when traffic is still on a main highway speed of 80km/h.
"It is also worrying that this speed is maintained all the way into residential Whangarei right up to Murdoch Cres."
The New Zealand Transport Agency confirmed it intended to lower the limit, dependent on public consultation set to get under way this week. The consultation - likely to be done through the district council - would also help determine the new limit and when it would come into force.
Dr Reti said the new limit looked likely to be 70km/h, but he would support going lower. The NZTA generally looked to lower its limits incrementally, he said. "Otherwise people don't adhere, they start getting ticketed, and they (NZTA) lose community buy-in."
However, Dr Reti said the change would mean yet another speed limit as drivers moved through the town, causing a situation where the limit went from 80 south of the Gull, to the new limit at Rewa Rewa, then 50 at Murdoch, and jumping between 70, 60, 50 and 80 through the rest of Whangarei before returning to 100km/h.
"There probably needs to be a more consistent speed," he said.
Gillian Archer from Roadsafe Northland said lowering the limit was an "excellent idea" and would help reduce the frequency and severity of crashes.
"Even [10km/h] makes a huge difference at the point of impact, and slowing down that whole traffic system gives people more time to react and see what's happening.
"It also changes the outcome when crashes do occur. The thing with crashes is you can't avoid them completely, but we want to reduce the rates at which people are seriously injured."
Ms Archer said, while she did not have precise data for the 800-metre stretch, she understood the crash rate was "quite high".
"This is becoming an area of increased vehicle movements and with people going in a number of different directions."
Ms Archer said she too would back an even lower limit, but understood people needed time to adjust.
Auckland and Northland highway manager Brett Gliddon said NZTA was also going to fully signalise the intersection of SH1 and Rewa Rewa Rd.
He said the stretch of road was slowly becoming more a part of the Whangarei township and included both "local and highway traffic".
"Before changing a speed limit we are required to consult with the community and key stakeholders," he said.