Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is extending the consultation and engagement period for the State Highway 5 (SH5) and 51 speed review by four weeks, following concerns about the calculation and presentation of likely travel time increases related to lower speed limits on SH5.
Speed limits are being reviewed on State Highway 51 (SH51), between Waipatu in Hastings and Marine Parade in Napier, and the winding section of SH5, from Rangitaiki to Esk Valley in an effort to save lives and prevent serious injuries from crashes along these high-risk roads.
“Safety is the top priority for Waka Kotahi. We want everyone who uses our roads to get to where they’re going safely. That’s why we are proposing to introduce safer speed limits, alongside safety improvements,” says Director of Regional Relationships Emma Speight.
“We have heard that many people who travel SH5 regularly have concerns about how we calculated and presented the likely travel time increases as part of the speed review consultation, and we apologise for the uncertainty this has created.
“It is important to Waka Kotahi that we provide full, reliable and trustworthy information to inform the community’s feedback about our proposals.
“We are committed to being open and transparent with the community, and ensuring that people feel they have a genuine opportunity to provide information, raise concerns or put forward suggestions about what we are proposing.
“To ensure that we fulfil this commitment and that people can participate in the consultation with full and accurate information, we are extending the consultation period by four weeks. People will now have until 6 June 2021 to provide feedback and make their submissions on our proposed speed changes.
“We are reviewing the travel time calculations to ensure that the information we provide reflects the average experience of people who travel on SH5 regularly. We will provide an update with further information next week, once we have completed this work.
“We encourage everyone in the community and people who use this road regularly to consider the updated information that will be released next week, and have their say on our proposal for safer speeds.
“Consultation for any proposed speed limit change is about much more than asking if people are ‘for or against’ the proposal. It is about seeking valuable local and community input so that we can consider wider factors and context into our decisions,” Ms Speight says.
Waka Kotahi will issue another mail drop of submission forms for those who live near SH5 and SH51. People who have already sent in a form may resubmit with the new information provided, if they wish. If people would like to leave their current submission as is, it will still be considered.
The introduction of safer speeds is part of the Road To Zero strategy developed in partnership with NZ Police, Ministry of Transport, local government and WorkSafe that adopts Vision Zero and sets a target to reduce deaths and serious injuries on New Zealand’s roads, streets, cycleways and footpaths by 40 percent over the next 10 years.