The NZ Transport Agency, in co-operation with the Police, will lower the speed limit on the Brynderwyn Hills from 100km/h to 80km/h to improve safety on this section of State Highway 1 in Northland.
The 80k speed limit will be in force from Thursday, May 27, 1.3 km south of Waipu Gorge Road to the southern end of the Piroa Stream Bridge adjacent to the quarry – a distance of 5.9km
The NZTA’s State Highways Manager for Northland, Tommy Parker, says the Transport Agency has introduced the lower speed limit to make it safer for everyone using a challenging section of SH1 because of its narrow lanes, tight corners and limited visibility.
“It is a section of highway that demands full driver attention,” Mr Parker said. “Many people have been caught out and crossed the centre line or left the road with disastrous results.”
In the past five years, there have been 79 crashes on this section of road. Three crashes were fatal, and two involved serious injuries.
Mr Parker says the NZTA welcomes Police support for the 80km/h limit.
Northland Road Policing Manager, Inspector Clifford Paxton, says his officers are all too familiar with the results of driver inattention on the Brynderwyns.
“In many of the crashes we’re called to, motorists have not necessarily exceeded the speed limit but have been driving just too fast for the conditions,” Inspection Paxton said.
Both Police and the NZTA believe the lower speed limit should reduce serious crashes on the Brynderwyns.
The speed limit on SH1 in the Dome Valley, between Wellsford and Warkworth, was lowered to 80km/h in December 2007. In the three years prior to lowering the speed limit, there were 36 crashes and seven fatalities in the Dome Valley. After the introduction of the lower limit, there have been 23 crashes and three fatalities.
“Those are the kind of statistics that the NZTA and the Police hope will be produced on the Brynderwyns by this safety initiative” Mr Parker says.
Due to the winding nature of the highway over the Brynderwyns, lowering the speed limit from 100km/h to 80km/h is not likely to add significant travelling time for drivers.
“What it will do, at the end of the day, is improve safety for everyone crossing the Brynderwyns,” say Inspector Paxton and Mr Parker. “However, we continue to strongly advise everyone using this section of SH1, even with the 80km/h speed limit, to drive to the conditions to ensure that they reach their destinations safely.”