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State Highway 3 north of New Plymouth – proposal to make the temporary 80km/h speed limit permanent

This consultation has now closed.

The NZ Transport Agency is proposing to make the two temporary speed limits on State Highway 3 (Devon Road) between Bell Block and Waitara permanent.

Why the reduced speed limit is being proposed?

The speed limit change we proposed was in response to the concerning crash history on this section of the state highway network.  Between 2008 and 2012, there were 63 crashes resulting in 6 fatalities, 17 serious injuries and 42 minor injuries between the end of the wire rope barrier southwest of Mangati Road intersection and Bayley Street north of Waitara.  This is worse than expected for this type of road and volume of traffic.  Additionally, the Princess Street and Mangati Road intersections are considered in the top 20 worst intersections for safety nationwide.

The proposal to reduce the speed limit was initially discussed during a workshop in April 2013 attended by various groups such as New Plymouth District Council, Taranaki Regional Council, AA Taranaki, NZ Police, Road Transport Association along with the NZ Transport Agency.  This group considered various short, medium and long term solutions for this section of high risk road.  The speed reduction was suggested as a solution which could be put in place relatively quickly and would have an immediate effect on the safety of the road.   

80km/h was felt to be the right balance between safety and speed and is expected to only add minimal travel time in a trip out to Waitara.

What have we done so far?

Late last year the Transport Agency installed about 5.13km of temporary 80km/h speed limit on State Highway 3 from the southwest side of Mangati Road intersection to the northeast side of Mahoetahi Road intersection and for about 400m either side of the Princess Street intersection in Waitara. 

How this fits with the speed limit rules?

Speed limits are set using the rules in 'Speed Limits New Zealand', which includes a warrant for rating the speed limit on a section of road.  This warrant found that the sections of road near the intersections rated as either 70km/h or 80km/h, while the sections in between rated 100km/h.   

The temporary speed limit installed by the NZ Transport Agency covers the two worst performing intersection and most of the sections where we believe that an 80km/h speed limit would be acceptable to the public. 

Under the Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limit 2003 Section 3.2 (5), a road controlling authority may propose setting a speed limit which differs from the calculated limit, if it is the safe and appropriate speed limit for the road with regard to the function, nature and use of the road, its environment, land use patterns and whether the road is an urban traffic area or rural traffic area.  Considering the nature of the traffic and the volume, the proposed development of the area and the crash history, the NZ Transport Agency is of the view that 80km/h over the extent proposed is an appropriate speed limit.

What next?

The NZ Transport Agency is empowered to create a bylaw to permanently alter the speed limit under the Transport Act 1962.  As part of creating a NZ Transport Agency bylaw we are required to consult the parties affected by the changes.  Please take the opportunity to fill in the survey before 20th June 2014.  We will take into consideration any comments or suggested alternatives you make.

The NZ Transport Agency is investigating improvements to the road and roadsides in this specific area and as a result may alter the intersections in the future to improve safety.

Map 1 – proposed speed limit change on State Highway 3

Map 1 – proposed speed limit change on State Highway 3 from Bell Block to Mahoetahi R

Map 2 – proposed speed limit change on State Highway 3

Map 2 – proposed speed limit change on State Highway 3, either side of Princess Street, Waitara

Survey

Submissions closed on 20 June 2013.

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