Picton to Christchurch alternate route speed limit consultation underway


Consultation is underway on a proposal to convert a range of temporary lower speed limits introduced on the Picton to Christchurch alternate state highway route after the November 2016 earthquake to permanent limits.

The lower speed limits were introduced on the alternate route (state highways 63, 6, 65 and 7) last year, under emergency legislation as part of a wide-ranging package of safety measures to manage the risks associated with the significant increase in traffic using the alternate route while State Highway 1 remains closed for repair.

Consultation also includes a proposal to lower the speed limit on a section of the Lower Buller Gorge that links to the alternate route. This road is not included in the current emergency rule.

NZ Transport Agency Director Regional Relationships Jim Harland says the consultation period is an opportunity for people using the alternate route and for those living along the route to have their say.

“The proposed lower speed limits we are consulting on will become permanent if implemented, so it’s important for people who want to give their views to review the proposals and have their say,” Mr Harland says.

Mr Harland says the lower speed limits are necessary because the alternate route is challenging to drive, and since the Kaikōura earthquake, the volume of vehicles travelling on some parts of this route has quadrupled.

“As emergency speed limits can only legally be in place for six months, and State Highway 1 will not be fully restored until the end of the year, in order to keep the lower speed limits in place to maintain safety on the alternate route the law requires that these lower limits now be made permanent.”

Mr Harland says the Transport Agency will continue to monitor the route once SH1 is restored, and if required, review speed limits again.

Submissions can be made until 5pm, Wednesday 3 May 2017.

Information on the proposed changes, detailed maps and a submission form are available at:  http://nzta.govt.nz/about-us/consultations/picton-to-christchurch-alternate-route-speed-limits/(external link)