Skip to content

CORONAVIRUS DISEASE (COVID-19) SERVICES UPDATE: due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of our offices are closed to the public. More information on our services

SCAM ALERT: vehicle licence (rego) renewal phishing emails

Access keys for nzta.govt.nz

  • h Home
  • m Menu
  • 0 Show list of access keys
  • 2 Skip to content
  • 3 Skip to top

Updated: 18 November 2019

Why are new speed limits being proposed?

State Highway 2, between Katikati and Tauranga, needs to be safer. Too many people are dying or being injured on our roads. Between 2009 and 2018 on this section of SH2, 27 people were killed and 77 were injured.

There are more vehicles, including heavy vehicles, using this section of SH2 and it’s catering to a wide range of competing travel needs. Crashes on this route can cause extensive delays and long detours if there are road closures.

Lowering the speed limit is something we can do now to help make SH2 safer in the short to medium term while we investigate other potential safety improvements between Ōmokoroa and Tauranga.

What are the new proposed limits?

The proposed speed limit changes are:

  • Lower the open road speed limit between Katikati and Bethlehem from the current mix of 100/90km/h to 80km/h.
  • Lower the Pahoia School variable speed zone from 70km/h to 60km/h.
  • Lower the speed limit through the Te Puna township from 80km/h to 60km/h.
  • Extend the 50km/h speed limit at Bethlehem to be 135m west of Te Puna Station Road.

What is the consultation period?

The consultation period ran from Monday 21 October through to 5pm Monday 18 November 2019.

Following this we will be considering all submissions and make a final decision. We expect to announce any changes to the speed limits in early 2020.

How did you decide on the proposed speeds?

After talking with locals, iwi, businesses and other organisations we carried out a technical assessment of the route to help determine what the safe and appropriate speeds should be – and how they line up with the current speed limits.

We looked at the road itself, previous crash history, the average speed vehicles are travelling on the road, number of vehicles a day using the road, what is happening around the road in terms of housing, urban development, businesses, and other activity on the road.

We believe that the speeds we are proposing are safe and appropriate for this road and will help reduce the number of people dying and being seriously injured in crashes in the future.

Any proposal to drop speed limits is driven by the need to improve safety and reduce harm for everyone on our roads and ensure in coming years we do not have thousands of people dealing with a road tragedy, which could have been prevented or the harm minimised if people had been driving at a slower speed.

Across the country, the same process and tools are being used to assess and help determine what the safe and appropriate speeds should be.

Why are speed limits being lowered?

We’re reviewing speed limits to make sure they are safe and appropriate for the road. No matter what causes a crash, speed is always a factor in the severity. Put simply, the speed of impact can be the difference between walking away or being carried away from a crash. This is especially true when pedestrians or cyclists are involved. Speed also reduces the opportunity to react to a mistake, yours or someone else’s – the faster you are travelling, the less time you have.

The SH2 Katikati to Tauranga review has assessed the varying 100km/h and 90km/h speeds and concluded they are not safe and appropriate for the various locations along the route.

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

How is the Transport Agency legally allowed to set these speed limits?

The Transport Agency is exercising its regulatory powers under clause 2.10 of the Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits (2017). This allows the Transport Agency, as a regulator, to set safe and permanent speed limits for local roads. 

This means permanent safe and appropriate speed limits can be set for State Highway 2.

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

The proposed new speed limits will have minimal impact on travel times. If you were able to drive the 28km from Katikati to Bethlehem with no interruptions, the lower 80km/h limit could add about four and a half minutes to your trip compared to the current speed limits. This will vary depending on time of day, volume of traffic, level of congestion, and whether it is a rural or urban stretch of highway being travelled on.

Why are you doing this now?

Lowering the speed limit is something we can do now to help make SH2 safer in the short to medium term while we investigate other potential safety improvements between Ōmokoroa and Tauranga.

What are electronic variable school zones?

Electronic variable school zone signs are an enforceable speed limit that can be activated during peak school traffic times.

The school zone speed limit will operate from 35 minutes before the start of school until the start of school, and from five minutes before school ends until 20 minutes after school ends.  It may also operate for 10 minutes at any other time when there is school related activity on the road.

When the Pahoia School variable zone is active the proposed speed limit is 60km/h and will be displayed on an electronic sign. At all other times the speed limit is proposed to be 80km/h.

What engagement on the proposed speed limits has been done to date?

Over several years, through various channels, key stakeholders and communities along SH2 have been engaged on speed. Issues have been raised at various times, including public open days in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Engagement with stakeholders has been targeted and has included the NZ Police, AA, Road Transport Association, National Road Carriers Association, Kiwi Rail, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, ACC, Iwi groups and the Western Bay of Plenty District Council.

Feedback from the community, Police, AA and other groups shows a general level of support for a lower speed limit to save lives and reduce deaths and serious injuries.

How can I have my say?

Feedback closed 5pm on Monday 18 November 2019.

What other work are you doing to make SH2 safer?

As part of the Safe Network Programme, SH2 between Waihi and Ōmokoroa is being made safer by improving intersections and installing roadside safety barriers, widening the road shoulder and putting in a wide centreline. Construction started in September 2018 on stage one between Heath Road and Trig Road. On site activity between Trig Road and Athenree Gorge, and between Wharawhara and Sharp Roads started in 2019. There are ten sections in total and each will take between 12-18 months to complete. The safety improvements project is expected to be finished in 2023.

For more information about the SH2 Waihi to Ōmokoroa safety improvements visit www.nzta.govt.nz/w2o(external link)

Also, as part of the Safe Network Programme, investigations are underway looking at what can be done in the short to medium term to make SH2 between Ōmokoroa and Te Puna safer. Safety improvements may include treatments such as median barriers, rumble strips and widening centre lines.

Will there be a Katikati bypass?

As the Transport Agency balances safety and value for money across the country, the bypass is not considered an investment priority for the 2018-21 National Land Transport Programme. Construction of a bypass, if required, will be after 2028. We will continue to hold the land designated for a potential bypass. 

What about the Katikati town centre?

We will be investigating potential improvements within the township to address peak congestion issues and provide a better urban environment. However, at this point in time, there is no funding to progress this work. When funding does become available, the Katikati town centre will be prioritised against other projects and programmes across the country. 

What is happening between Ōmokoroa and Te Puna?

The re-evaluation identified a need to revisit the business case for the Ōmokoroa to Te Puna section of SH2. There is currently no funding to progress this work. When funding does become available, the Te Puna to Ōmokoroa section will be prioritised against other projects and programmes across the country. 

As part of the Safe Network Programme, investigations are underway looking at what can be done in the short to medium term to make SH2 between Ōmokoroa and Te Puna safer. Safety improvements may include treatments such as median barriers, rumble strips and widening centre lines.

What about the Ōmokoroa intersection – will it get upgraded?

The Ōmokoroa intersection is included in the Ōmokoroa to Te Puna business case and, as noted above, there is no funding to progress this work. When funding does become available, the Te Puna to Ōmokoroa section will be prioritised against other projects and programmes across the country. 

What happened to the proposed Tauranga Northern Link?

The re-evaluation confirmed that there is a need for a new highway subject to the Transport Agency and local councils demonstrating how the new route would integrate with the city’s transport network in a way that supports and prioritises public transport and high occupancy vehicles. 

A new direction for the highway concept was that it would be a two-lane road (instead of four), with opportunity for two additional lanes to be used for multi-modal travel. This prioritised the Government’s vision for a safer transport network free of death and injury, accessible and affordable transport, value for money and reduced emissions. 

Timing, design and construction of a new highway depends on the development of an integrated network plan and on available funding. There is currently no funding to progress this work. When funding does become available, the Tauranga Northern Link will be prioritised against other projects and programmes across the country. 

More information about speed management and the Safe Network Programme:

Top