Waka Kotahi calls for community collaboration on designing a safer state highway network for Northland/north-west Auckland


Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is keen to hear community views on the right speeds for each unique part of the Northland and north/north-western Auckland state highway network.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is keen to hear community views on the right speeds for each unique part of the Northland and north/north-western Auckland state highway network. 

Over the next couple of months, Waka Kotahi is inviting people in Northland and north/north-west Auckland to join the conversation about the current speeds on their state highways and to share their concerns and local knowledge about how the roads are used, says Waka Kotahi Director of Regional Relationships, Steve Mutton.  

“Ensuring we have the right speed for each unique part of our state highway network is key to saving lives and working towards our vision of a New Zealand where no-one is killed or seriously injured on our roads.” 

“By working to deliver a safe system, we’re protecting people by acknowledging that even responsible people can make mistakes on our roads, but that these mistakes should not cost us our lives.

Speed is the single biggest factor that determines if someone survives a crash or walks away unharmed,” Mr Mutton says. 

“Communities have an important role to play in contributing to discussions about making their roads safer, and we encourage people to give us their feedback. This helps us decide if we have safe speeds on our roads, if a change is required to better reflect how a community uses their roads, where new speed limits could begin or end, and if any other safety improvements might be needed.”

 Mr Mutton says the focus on creating safer roads for all New Zealanders is evident in the current programme of works for Northland and into Auckland. 

The regional package of the New Zealand Upgrade Programme in Northland includes a $21.5 million upgrade to high-risk intersections at Kawakawa, Puketona and Rawene, with significant safety benefits including improved visibility, safer speeds and reduced congestion.  

There is a $792 million dollar four-lane corridor planned between Whangārei and Port Marsden Highway. The design of the corridor will significantly improve safety through the inclusion of a continuous centre median barrier, preventing people from crossing the centre line and avoiding a head-on crash. ​ 

Ara Tūhono – the Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway is being built to the highest safety standards and will open in May 2022.

It will connect to SH1 through the Dome Valley where a $67 million safety improvement project includes centreline wire rope barriers, turning bays, and road widening which are consistent with our safe system approach. 

Mr Mutton says that New Zealand’s challenging topography means our state highways are often in unique environments. 

“Roads run through narrow gullies, near schools and marae and through local communities. Lowering speeds is often an efficient and effective way to keep motorists and people on bikes and on foot safe. That’s why Waka Kotahi is reviewing speeds along nine state highways in Northland and two in Auckland’s Rodney area this year,” he says.

Local engagement enables everyone who uses the state highway, those who live nearby and communities who use the highway to go about their daily life, to tell Waka Kotahi what they think. It also helps us gather more information about how the network is used.

“We’re not just looking at how fast we’re driving to get from A to B, it’s about how we use a highway as part of our daily life. It’s about taking a “whole of system” approach that addresses every part of the system - vehicles, road users and roads,” says Steve Mutton.

“Under our speed management programme, we have been identifying roads where safer speed limits will result in the greatest reduction in deaths and serious injuries as quickly as possible, and where we know communities have been calling for change.”

In coming months, Waka Kotahi will give more details of speed review information sessions in the community. Formal consultation about any proposed speed limit changes will be the next part of the process, once we have considered feedback from the engagement.

In the meantime, use these links to the Waka Kotahi website to find out more about:

State highways being reviewed:

  • SH1 Pukenui to Kaitaia
  • SH10 Pakaraka to Taipa
  • SH11 Kawakawa to Paihia
  • SH1 Kawakawa to Whangārei 
  • SH15 between SH1 (north of Kaikohe) and Otaika
  • SH12 Ōmāpere to Kaikohe
  • SH14 Dargaville to Whangārei
  • SH12 Brynderwyn to Ōmāpere
  • SH1 Whangārei to Auckland boundary
  • SH1 Auckland boundary to Warkworth
  • SH16 Wellsford to Waimauku

About Vision Zero

Road to Zero, New Zealand’s road safety strategy, sets out the goal of reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads by 40 percent over the next decade. This sets an initial target of reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on New Zealand roads by 40% (compared to 2018 levels) by 2030, as a first step towards a long-term goal of no deaths or serious injuries.

Reaching that initial target would mean reducing annual road deaths to less than 230 and serious injuries to less than 1,700 by 2030. Last year 318 people were killed and more than 2,500 were seriously injured on New Zealand roads.

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