Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has set new safe and appropriate permanent speed limits for State Highway 3 between Waitara and Bell Block in Taranaki, following public consultation late last year.
The new speed limits, which come into effect on December 18, will create a consistent 80km/h speed limit improving safety on the highway ahead of the busy holiday period.
The new speed limits are located 60m east of Mahoetahi Rd to 400m west of Princess St and 430m east of Princess St to 300m east of Bayly St.
Director of regional relationships Emma Speight says SH3 between Waitara and Bell Block is one of the busiest roads in the region, providing access to key locations such as the New Plymouth Airport and Port Taranaki, and a high number of crashes occur on this stretch of road.
"There were 101 crashes on this route between 2009 and 2018. Seven people died and 14 people were seriously injured.
"Speed is a factor in every crash. Even when it isn't the cause, it can be the difference between someone walking away unharmed or being seriously injured or even killed. By making changes now, we can help prevent more crashes on this road and reduce the risk of a tragedy."
The speed limits will add less than 20 seconds to travel times based on current operating speeds, she says.
"However they will help make sure people get where they are going safely."
These permanent speed limit changes follow engagement with New Zealand Police and road user groups, as well as consultation with the public.
In addition to safer speeds, Waka Kotahi is making the road safer with infrastructure improvements. Roundabouts are being designed for high-risk intersections between Waitara and Bell Block along with other safety improvements such as rumble strips, wide centrelines and safety barriers.
Physical works will get under way this summer with the marking of wide centrelines and rumble strips, and roundabout construction is scheduled to start at the end of 2021, subject to obtaining consents, land acquisition and full implementation funding.
"These improvements along with safer speed limits along the route will help prevent deaths and serious injuries on the highway and support current and future residential growth in Waitara," says Emma.
More information on the permanent speed limits and our consultation summary, including the submissions, can be found at: www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/sh3-waitara-to-bell-block-permanent-speed-limits.