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Project introduction

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has undertaken two speed reviews in Hawke’s Bay. These are SH51 from Marine Parade to Waipatu and SH5 from Napier through to Taupō. This section focuses SH5 between Rangitaiki and Esk Valley.

  • Estimated project dates

    Apr 2021–Jan 2022

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New safer speed of 80km/h comes into effect on State Highway 5 on Friday 18 February

A new, safer 80km/h speed limit for the 76km winding section of State Highway 5 between Rangitaiki and Esk Valley will come into effect on Friday 18 February.

The top priority for Waka Kotahi is for everyone to get to their destination safely and this will be done through safer speed limits and future safety improvements. Reducing speed limits is the most effective and immediate way we can dramatically improve safety for everyone who uses this road.

State Highway 5 Rangitaiki to Esk Valley speed limits

From April to June 2021, Waka Kotahi consulted with the public on a proposed speed limit change for State Highway 5 (SH5) between Rangitaiki and Esk Valley.

This part of SH5 is one of the highest risk sections of road in the Hawke’s Bay region. Our priority is to make this road safer so that everyone using it can get where they are going safely and reliably.

Permanent speed limits

A new speed limit of 80 km/h was proposed during consultation and has been set as the new permanent speed limit, taking effect from 18 February 2022.


New permanent speed limit (km/h)

SH5 from Rangitaiki (1140m south east of Matea Road) to Esk Valley (110m west of Waipunga Road).


Permanent speed limit map

Download map [PDF, 572 KB]

Investigation and evidence

The decision on the new speed limit was based on a thorough technical assessment of the road, which considered factors like crash history, road environment and speeds that people generally travel at, as well as feedback received during consultation from the general public and stakeholders.

We also considered the concerning spike in crashes resulting in deaths and serious injuries along this stretch of road.

Following consultation with local authorities, the community, emergency services and other road users, and after reviewing the results of the technical assessment, 80km/h was assessed to be the safe and appropriate speed for this section of SH5.

The majority of the feedback from people who submitted their thoughts through the consultation process showed they would like speed limits to remain the same. Concerns about driver behaviour including drug and alcohol use, and quality of the road surface were also shared in submissions. The evidence shows that 100km/h is not safe for this section of road, even for the best drivers.

There are many reasons crashes happen and we need a mix of solutions that all work together to keep people safe. We need everyone making safe choices, in safe vehicles, on safe roads and travelling at safe speeds. Improving people’s skills and deterring risk-taking behaviour are still critical, but this alone will not fix the problem.

Crash history

Between 2010 and 2019, 16 people were killed and 75 were seriously injured in crashes on SH5 between Taupō and Napier.

Since December 2019, nine further people have been killed in six fatal crashes. All but one of these occurred between Rangitaiki and Esk Valley.

Other work on SH5

Long-term planning is vital to SH5, as it’s Hawke’s Bay’s critical link north.

Safe and appropriate speed limits are one part of what we’re doing to make SH5 safer for everyone who uses it. We are also planning safety improvements, such as shoulder widening, wide centrelines, side barriers and some intersection improvements. We expect this work to begin at the end of this year.

We're continuing with the maintenance programme to ensure the safety and resilience of this key route for the region, and we will be working with partners on a Programme Business Case which will develop a strategy for SH5.

The business case will set out a long-term vision for SH5 and inform future improvements to the corridor. The feedback we received during the speed review process will be a key part of shaping this direction.

Other initiatives underway include working with NZ Police, increasing our investment in road safety, and working with the local Road Safe Coordinators on the SH5 ‘Stay alive on 5’.

Frequently asked questions

Find out more about the permanent speed limits on SH5 from Taupō to Napier by reading the frequently asked questions.

Frequently asked questions

Consultation and submissions

Public consultation closed at 5pm on 6 June 2021.

Around 2000 submissions were received from stakeholder organisations and the public during the consultation period.

During this time, we also consulted on the speed limits on SH51 between Marine Parade and Waipatu. Of these, nearly 200 more submissions can be applied to both corridors with general comments.

View our consultation summary and the submissions [PDF, 728 KB]

Related speed review consultation

SH51 permanent speed limits

Briefing to the Minister regarding Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s decision on SH5 speed review [PDF, 777 KB]