Northland is all but confirmed to see sections of its state highway speed limits slashed from 100 km/hr to 80 km/hr.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Road to Zero portfolio manager Tara MacMillan told RNZ cutting back speed limits is a more affordable and instant way to address the region’s road toll rates.
Dropping Northland’s state highway speed limits has long been part of NZTA’s ‘Road to Zero’ campaign, albeit it faces stiff competition from locals. The region is set to become the first in New Zealand to experience the changes.
According to MacMillan, other parts in New Zealand can expect to see a handful of changes to speed limits. However, Northland is a ‘challenging’ region “that if the [Transport Agency] can crack, it will be good.”
The upper north will experience the biggest grunt of changes too. Of the 880 km of roads that stretch across six state highways, 770 km are mooted to see their speed limits drop.
So far this year, Northland’s road toll is two. Both were recorded in January. But the region regularly records some of New Zealand’s highest figures during the summer holiday period.
MacMillan says implementing safety features to Northland’s roads, such as median barriers, are not financially feasible options.
According to the agency, Northland locals will have an opportunity to voice their opinion on the matter ‘soon’. Exactly when is not known.
There is expected to be some backlash to the proposed changes. Northland’s Chamber of Commerce CEO Steve Smith told 1News slower speed limits will build up more traffic and surge up expenses for businesses.
MacMillan said the NZTA will consider all feedback before moving ahead with its plans.