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SH3 Napier Road speed review and infrastructure improvements

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Project introduction

We’re reviewing speeds on SH3 Napier Road and making safety improvements to infrastructure between Keith Street and Stoney Creek Road. Safer speed limits and better designed infrastructure on this route will work together to provide the safest and most suitable solution for this corridor.

  • Project type

    Infrastructure upgrade, Speed review

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What we know

We’ve talked to the community, councils, local businesses and others about making SH3 Napier Road safer.

Speed review and infrastructure improvements engagement summary [PDF, 556 KB]

Between 2011-2020, there were three people killed and 80 injured in crashes on this road. In many of these crashes, speed was either a cause of injury, or a lower speed could have reduced crash severity. Most of the serious crashes in the 80km/h zones would have likely been worse or fatal at higher speeds (CAS data extracted in March 2022).

This corridor has recently undergone significant change, with considerable development in Palmerston North leading to an increase in the number and type of vehicles using SH3 Napier Road. Additionally, the use of the alternative route (Saddle Road) from Ashhurst to Woodville has resulted in increased traffic and safety impacts on this corridor.

This 12km road corridor is a key regional route located south of the suburb of Kelvin Grove in Palmerston North. It has recently undergone significant growth in traffic and more urban land use. This has created a need for a safety improvement.

What we're proposing

Based on what we know, we think the following would be safer speeds on this section of the road:

Location State highway Description Current speed (km/h) Proposed speed (km/h)
Palmerston North to Roberts Line intersection 3 20m north of Sutton Place to 190m east of Roberts Line 100 / 80 (temp) 80
Roberts Line intersection to Whakarongo 3 190m east of Roberts Line to 280m east of Stoney Creek Road 100 80
Whakarongo School 3 200m west of Stoney Creek Road to 130m east of Stoney Creek Road 100 60VSL
Whakarongo to Ashhurst 3 280m east of Stoney Creek Road to 350m east of Hacketts Road 100 100km/h – no change for this current review
Ashhurst Township 3 350m east of Hacketts Road to 500m south of Cambridge Avenue Street 80 / 50 (temp) 60
Ashhurst Bridge 3 500m south of Cambridge Avenue to 160m northwest of State Highway 57 100 80

Speed review map

Map showing proposed speed limits along SH3 Napier Road

View larger map [PDF, 316 KB]

Between Kelvin Grove and Whakarongo

Our review shows that for most of SH3 Napier Road from Sutton Place in Kelvin Grove to Stoney Creek Road in Whakarongo, at present 80 km/h is the safe and appropriate speed. Through the SH3 Stoney Creek Road intersection and past Whakarongo School, a 60km/h Variable School Zone is proposed.

Through our community engagement we heard that most people support speed limit reductions on this stretch of road.

We acknowledge that many people would like to see a speed limit even lower from Sutton Place in Kelvin Grove to Roberts Line. The current road environment doesn’t allow for that much of a reduction and what we propose is to make the temporary 80km/h permanent now and re-look at lowering the speed in this area further when we construct walking and cycling facilities along this stretch and put in traffic signals at the SH3 Roberts Line intersection. Through our community engagement we have heard that most people support the construction of traffic signals at this high crash intersection, so we are now progressing as quickly as possible. Detailed design is now underway, and we expect to start construction in 2023 (subject to funding approval).

In our community engagement, most people were in support of a variable school zone at Whakarongo, where the current speed limit is 100km/h. This will keep children and their whānau travelling to and from school safe. We may consider reducing the speed further here in the future.

We acknowledge that there are housing developments planned in the Whakarongo area, and we could review the speed limits in the area again when these come to fruition.

Between Whakarongo and Ashhurst

Beyond the school zone in Whakarongo and out to Ashhurst, the current speed limit is 100km/h and our review showed that 80km/h would be the safe and appropriate speed. However, we did not receive much feedback in our community engagement about this section of road and most of the people who did provide feedback opposed any speed limit reduction here.

We are not proposing a change of speed limit for this stretch of road at this time as we would like to talk further with our stakeholders to better understand the future form and function of the road.

Through Ashhurst township

The speed limit through Ashhurst township is currently 80km/h and our review showed that 60km/h is the safe and appropriate speed for this section of road. We heard that many people would like to see a 50km/h speed limit through Ashhurst however the current road environment doesn’t allow for this much of a reduction so we are proposing 60km/h and could look at this again in the future if Ashhurst becomes more highly urbanised.

From Ashhurst to SH57

From the Ashhurst Domain entrance, across Ashhurst Bridge to the intersection of SH3 and SH57, the current speed limit is 100km/h and our review showed that 80km/h is the safe and appropriate speed. We heard through our community engagement that cycle safety is a concern on this section of road, and so we are proposing the reduction to 80km/h at this time. We are also in the process of the designing a shared user path for the Ashhurst Bridge.

Ashhurst Bridge shared user path

Speed review – public consultation

Formal consultation on new speed limit proposals is required under the Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limit (2017).

During April and May 2022 we asked for feedback on the proposed new speed limits. Submissions closed on 6 May 2022.

Infrastructure improvements

Making sure speeds are safe is one of the quickest and most effective ways we can prevent deaths and serious injuries, but speed management is just one way we can make the roads safer. Along with proposing safer speed limits, we’re also developing new safety improvements for the SH3 Napier Road corridor between Keith Street and Stoney Creek Road.

Find out more about the infrastructure improvements