New permanent speed limits have been erected along a 7km stretch of State Highway 10 between Awanui and Kaingaroa.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Association announced last month it would implement the changes, which officially took effect on October 22.
A number of communities are situated along SH10 between Awanui and Kaingaroa, including the settlement of Kareponia (between Church Rd and Kumi Rd) which includes more than 50 households, a church, an urupa (cemetery), a kohanga reo and two marae - Kareponia and Mahimaru.
According to Waka Kotahi, plans for the signs had been in place since last year and were due to be announced in October.
Before changes could be announced, however, a serious accident occurred, whereby an 11-year-old Kareponia boy, Seth Ngawhika, was struck by a truck while attempting to cross State Highway 10 on September 28.
News of the terrible accident reinvigorated calls from the community for better road safety measures in the area and in the very least, to reduce speed limits throughout the corridor.
Kareponia resident and road safety advocate Kathleen O'Hare has been integral in campaigning for better road safety in the area following a separate incident involving Seth's younger brother some years earlier.
O'Hare said the community were delighted with the new speed reduction signage.
"We understand that some road widening work will be taking place early next year and we're really excited about that too," O'Hare said.
"The signage is a great first step, and just in time for summer as well.
"Talking with whānau on the hill, it seems that people are getting the message and driving to the speed limit - which is great news.
"As always we encourage people driving through Kareponia to keep to the speed limit and drive with care so that we can all have a safe Christmas."
In the case of speed review for the area, two rounds of formal consultation have been held, with the second round (in November 2020) updating the original proposal to include the use of variable speed limit signs outside Kareponia and Mahimaru Marae.
Waka Kotahi said they remained committed to developing solutions for the areas near these marae, but the complexity of variable speed limits meant they would take longer to resolve.
The agency also acknowledged the urgent need to implement a permanent safe and appropriate speed for this section of state highway, which was highlighted by the accident involving Ngawhika in September.
A few more signs are yet to be installed, including threshold and placemaker signs ( the signs which have a place name on them and speed limit), at Kareponia and Kaingaroa.
This will be completed in December.
In early-mid next year, a road widening within Kareponia 60km zone will also be established, as well as the safety improvements adjacent to the Mahimaru and Kareponia marae.
For more information, visit: nzta.govt.nz/awanui-to-kaingaroa
From October 22, the permanent speed limits are:
SH10: Existing 100km/h area from 455m southwest of Pukewhai Rd to 610m northeast of Duncan Rd – 80km/h
SH10: Existing 100km/h area through Kaingaroa from 610m northeast of Duncan Rd to 360m southwest of Duncan Rd – 60km/h
SH10: Existing 100km/h area from 360m southwest of Duncan Rd to 1.480km southwest of Pairatahi Rd – 80km/h
SH10: Existing 100km/h area through Kareponia from 1.480km southwest of Pairatahi Rd to 1.275km northeast of Godinovich Rd – 60km/h
SH10: Existing 100km/h area from 1.275km northeast of Godinovich Rd to 430m west of Kumi Rd – 80km/h
SH10: Extending the existing 50km/h area by 190m east of Awanui, from 430m west of Kumi Rd to SH10/SH1 intersection – 50km/h