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New safer speeds for SH35 townships and beaches

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Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is reducing speed limits for the township and beach sections of State Highway 35 between Gisborne and Te Puia Springs to help keep road users safe.

From Tuesday 8 September, the new permanent speed limits for Tamarau and Okitu township will be 60km/h, and for Makorori to Pouawa the new limit will be 80km/h. The new seasonal speed limit (from 20 December to 1 February) for Turihaua and Pouawa beaches will be 60km/h.

Director of Regional Relationships Emma Speight says, “This highway is one of the highest risk roads in the region. Between 2009 and July 2019 there were 377 crashes between Gisborne and Te Puia Springs, with nine fatalities and 46 serious injuries.

“No matter what causes a crash, speed is always a factor in the severity. Put simply, speed can be the difference between walking away or being carried away from a crash. By making speed limits safer, we can help prevent people from being killed or seriously injured in crashes on this road.

“The feedback we received from the community was strongly supportive of the safer speeds we proposed for the township and beach sections of State Highway 35 between Gisborne and Te Puia Springs.

“Along with our technical assessment, which found the current speed limits aren’t safe for the road environment, we’ve used the feedback to make our decision to go ahead with the proposed speed limit changes.

“Combined with the number of vehicles, including heavy vehicles, driving through areas where people live or are enjoying popular recreational sites, ensuring speed limits are safe and appropriate is the right thing to do for the communities who live and work along the East Coast,” Ms Speight says.

The setting of the permanent speed limits follows engagement with the Police, the AA, and the Road Transport Forum, and consultation with the public.

“Based on the feedback we received on the proposed speed limit change for Te Puia Springs township and further analysis of our technical data, we’ve decided to reconsider the proposed speed limit on this section. We are instead looking to reconsult with a new proposed speed limit and will be coming back to the community with more information on this in the coming months,” Ms Speight says.

“We’d like to thank everyone who provided their feedback on the proposed speed limits.”

More information on the permanent speed limits and our consultation summary, including the submissions can be found at:
https://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/sh35-have-your-say/

The review of speed limits is part of the Waka Kotahi Safe Network Programme. The Programme is delivering proven safety interventions on our highest risk intersections and roads across New Zealand. Aligned to New Zealand’s Road Safety Strategy, Road to Zero 2020–2030, the Safe Network Programme aims to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads by focusing on safe roads and roadsides, safe and appropriate speeds, and safe level crossings. 

From Tuesday 8 September, the new permanent speed limits are:

Location

Current speed limit

New speed limit

Tamarau
From 20m north-west of Coldstream Road to 60m east of Wheatstone Road.

70km/h to 80km/h

60km/h

Okitu Township
From 100m south-west of Wairere Road to 390m north of Sirrah Street

70km/h

60km/h

Makorori to Pouawa
From 390m north of Sirrah Street to 400m south of Pouawa Bridge.

100km/h

80km/h

Turihaua and Pouawa Beaches (seasonal)
From 600m south of Turihaua Bridge to 400m south of Pouawa Bridge. This seasonal speed limit is from 20 December to 1 February.

70km/h

60km/h

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