The NZ Transport Agency has today put in place a reduced speed limit of 80km/hr on State Highway 56 at Opiki as part of a multifaceted approach to improve road safety in the area.
NZTA state highways manager David McGonigal says together with the completion of intersection improvements last year and the construction of a barrier outside Opiki School in 2008, the reduced speed limit will help to make this busy stretch of road safer for motorists and the local community.
“This is a section of road that has seen a number of crashes, and all of the recent improvements will help to reduce the likelihood of deaths or serious injuries in future.”
“It will also give some peace of mind to the surrounding community, who have expressed to us their ongoing concern about safety along this stretch of highway.”
The speed limit reduction follows consultation with the community, and will be part of a wider commitment to improving road safety in Opiki.
“While speed limit reductions are not a silver bullet, we believe that lowering the speed limit will help to contribute to the safety of motorists and the community as part of a wider approach to reducing the risk and severity of crashes.
“Speed is one of a number of factors that affect safety, along with safer roads and roadsides and safer behaviour, and we’re focused on improving all of these factors in Opiki.”
Mr McGonigal says this will include the participation of Opiki School in a 'Safety around Rural Schools Project', which will involve the school, neighbours, police and others in a workshop in June this year.
“This workshop will help identify the traffic problems in the area, possible solutions to these, and a plan to put in place and monitor the effectiveness of these solutions.”
Mr McGonigal says the 80km/h signs will be posted with 'temporary' supplementary signs underneath until they are formally gazetted in the next two months.
Safer speeds is a key priority of the Government’s Safer Journeys road safety strategy, which aims to reduce harm from road crashes through a Safe Systems approach that was launched in 2010 and focuses on ensuring crashes shouldn’t result in people losing their life or their limbs.