Recent road and roadside safety improvements on State Highway 37 in the Waitomo district will be enhanced by an 80km/h speed limit.
The new speed limit, which takes effect on Wednesday (28 September), will be introduced on SH37 from the intersection with SH3 to Waitomo Village, and on SH3 at the approaches to and through the roundabout at Hangatiki.
The reduced speed limit complements the $1.5 million of targeted safety improvements which have recently been completed as part of the Government’s Safer Roads and Roadsides Programme.
Waikato Highway Manager Niclas Johansson says a reduction in speed limit is expected to reduce deaths and serious injuries along what is one of the 90 most high risk sections of rural roads in the country.
“Reducing risk on these roads has been a two-pronged approach with both improvements to the roads and roadsides themselves, as well as a lowered speed limit.
“This stretch of highway has challenging topography, including curves, and is busy with both visitor and local traffic. The reduction in speed reduces the likelihood of a crash due to loss of control, as well as reducing the severity of any impact if a crash does happen.
“Our consultation with the community and key organisations showed support for a reduction in speed limit, with 80km/h seen as a good compromise between visiting drivers who may be unfamiliar with the roads and driving more conservatively, and locals driving faster because they are used to the road,” Mr Johansson says.
The Transport Agency uses a Safe System approach to road safety that maintains while mistakes are inevitable, deaths and serious injuries are not.
Based on the Safe System approach the reduction in speed in this area would significantly help reduce deaths and serious injuries because the likelihood of a loss of control crash is reduced and the severity of impact is lower if a crash does occur.
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