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Updated: November 2020

Why did you have to set new speed limits?

The community and Waka Kotahi are deeply concerned about the number of deaths and serious injury crashes occurring on State Highway 2 (SH2) between Katikati and Tauranga.

Between 2009 and 2018 on this section of SH2, 27 people were killed and 77 were seriously injured.

Reducing the current speed limit between Katikati and Tauranga is one way Waka Kotahi can make the road safer now while continuing to work on long-term solutions.

Speed increases both the likelihood of crashes and the severity of crash outcomes, regardless of what caused the crash. Lowering speed limits on the road will make it more forgiving of human error so simple mistakes don’t cost lives.

What are the new permanent speed limits and where do they start/stop?

The following new speed limits will come into effect from Friday 11 December 2020:

SH2 Katikati to Bethlehem, Tauranga

Existing speed limits

New speed limits from 11 December 2020

Katikati to Te Puna

From 170m south of Marshall Road to 180m east of Loop Road.

100km/h and 90km/h

80km/h

Pahoia School zone

From 140m north of Pahoia Road to 365m south-east of Esdaile Road.

The variable speed limit will lower the speed limit from 80km/h outside the school to 60km/h at peak school traffic times. This is 35 minutes before the start of school until the start of school, and 20 minutes at the end of school, beginning no earlier than five minutes before the end of school.

It also may operate for 10 minutes at any other time when there is a school-related activity.

100km/h and variable 70km/h

80km/h and variable 60km/h

 

Te Puna  

From 180m east of Loop Road to 360m east of Te Puna Road.

80km/h

60km/h

Te Puna

From 360m east of Te Puna Road to 135m west of Te Puna Station Road.

90km/h

No speed limit change*

Bethlehem

From 135m west of Te Puna Station Road to 370m east of Bethlehem Road.

90km/h and 50km/h

No speed limit change*

*Speed limits to the east of Te Puna, and the rural/urban boundary shift west of Bethlehem, have not changed. Waka Kotahi will re-assess the speed limit through this section in the future if the function of the road changes. For example, due to growth and development changing the way we use the road, or if new cycling infrastructure is constructed.  

View the new permanent speed limit map [PDF, 324 KB] 

How were those limits decided?

The speed review process involves a number of steps that help determine the speed limits we propose at consultation.

A technical assessment was completed which considers the road itself, the traffic volumes, the crash history, and the way people are currently travelling on the roads in accordance with the Setting of Speed Limits Rule.

Following the technical assessment, we undertook formal consultation where we ask road user groups, members of the public, iwi, councils, AA, road transport associations, and the Police for submissions on any external factors, we may need to be aware of. The consultation period was four weeks. Once consultation closed, we analysed the submissions and re-analysed our technical information.

The consultation for the proposed speed limit changes is not a vote, it’s about seeking valuable local and community input so that we can consider wider factors and context into our decisions.

Neighbouring safety upgrades are underway on SH2 between Waihī and Ōmokoroa to improve intersection safety using road barriers, widened road shoulders and wide centrelines. These improvements, alongside safe and appropriate speed limits, will make SH2 safer for everyone.

Traffic volumes, including heavy vehicles, have been increasing, especially in areas where people live and try to go about their day-to-day business. There is only so much we can physically do to make the road safer, and it won’t fix everything.

For more information about how we reached these decisions, please read our consultation summary report.

Consultation summary report [PDF, 682 KB]

Learn about the speed review process 

Will Waka Kotahi change the speed limits back to 100km/h once infrastructure improvements are complete?

No crash resulting in death or serious injury is acceptable, so it’s important we take every opportunity to address the risk.

Speed increases both the likelihood of crashes and the severity of crash outcomes so a small change can make a huge difference.

We’re making neighbouring stretches of SH2 between Waihī and Ōmokoroa safer by improving intersections and installing roadside safety barriers, widening the road shoulder and putting in a wide centreline. Work is already underway on these improvements and, along with the right speed limit, will make SH2 safer for everyone.

Why aren’t the limits being returned to 100km/h, 90km/h and 80km/h?

The review undertaken assessed that the various 100km/h, 90km/h and 80km/h speeds were not safe and appropriate for the route.

Lower permanent speed limits were needed to reduce the number of crashes and resulting deaths and serious injuries.

When do the speed limit changes come into effect and how are the public being notified?

The new speed limits take effect on 11 December 2020.

The public will be notified of the new permanent speed limits through the local newspaper, on the radio and on Waka Kotahi’s website.

How many people have died or been seriously injured on this route?

Between 2009 and 2018 on this section of SH2, 27 people were killed and 77 were seriously injured.

What will lowering the speed limit really do?

Less speed means less harm. A small change in speed makes a big difference. Speed increases both the likelihood of crashes and the severity of crash outcomes, regardless of what caused the crash. Lowering speed limits on the road will make it more forgiving of human error so simple mistakes don’t cost lives. Fewer crashes will also reduce the amount of time the road is closed due to crashes and reduce inconvenience to drivers.

Won’t the new lower speed limits mean the trip will take a lot longer?

The new permanent speed limits prioritise people’s safety. In terms of travel time, if you were able to drive the 28km from Katikati to Bethlehem with no interruptions, the lower 80km/h limit would add about four and a half minutes to your trip compared to the current mix of 100km/h and 90km/h speed limits.

Did you consult with the public on these changes?

Yes. Between October and November 2019, we formally consulted with the public on the proposed permanent speed limits. We received 576 submissions. 

Why haven't you changed the speed limit between Te Puna and Bethlehem?

During the speed review process the technical assessment took into consideration future uses of this section of state highway.

This included a potential section of the Ōmokoroa to Tauranga cycleway between the southern end of the Wairoa River Bridge and the existing speed limit change point 345m west of Carmichael Road.

The 50km/h speed limit consulted on was proposed in advance of confirming a final design of this section of cycleway with project partners and stakeholders.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council, in partnership with Waka Kotahi, Tauranga City Council, and local hapū, is continuing to investigate possible cycleway routes that may affect parts of this corridor in the future. The outcome of these investigations will determine the next steps.

Waka Kotahi will re-assess the speed limit through this section in the future if the function of the road changes. For example, due to growth and development changing the way we use the road, or if a cycleway design is agreed to and constructed. 

Until the function of this road changes the current speed limits will remain.

Why don’t you drop the speed limit to 80km/h from Te Puna to the Bethlehem side of the Wairoa Bridge?

The speed review process involves numerous steps that help determine the speed limits we propose at consultation.

A technical assessment was completed which considered the road itself, the traffic volumes, the crash history, and the way people are currently travelling on this road. That assessment was also informed through engagement with numerous stakeholders and the community.

During consultation, it was proposed to reduce the speed on the section from east of Te Puna to just west of Te Puna Station Road to 80km/h, and from west of Te Puna Station Road to the eastern side of the Wairoa bridge to 50km/h. This was to support future potential developments and uses for this road. However, since the conclusion of the consultation period, the potential future developments to this section have not been confirmed.

Waka Kotahi will re-assess the speed limit through this section in the future if the function of the road changes. For example, due to growth and development changing the way we use the road, or if a cycleway design is agreed to and constructed. 

For more information about how we reached these decisions, read our consultation summary report.

Consultation summary report [PDF, 682 KB]

Why don’t you make it 90km/h between Katikati and Te Puna, instead of 80km/h?

90km/h is generally only approved by exception. In this instance, there is already a long section of existing 90km/h within this corridor that has a poor crash history since being implemented.

A 90km/h would not achieve a notable safety benefit in the context of this corridor (as the highest volume section of the corridor is already at 90km/h).