Why did you have to set new speed limits?
There were a number of safety issues with the state highway in this location, these had also been raised by the community. They included:
- Intersections on this road can feel unsafe. Many drivers slow down to turn off the road to access the wider rural area, businesses and tourist destinations in Waiotapu, while those travelling on continue to drive at 100km/h.
- There is limited space for traffic to safely turn and the current road layout can make it hard for drivers to see what’s ahead.
- Crash history - Between 2009 and 2018 there were 20 crashes on this stretch of road and five people were seriously injured.
What is the new permanent speed limit?
The new speed limit is 80km/h. It extends from 551m north-east of Waikite Valley Road to 369m south-west of Waiotapu Loop Road, a stretch of 977m through the settlement of Waiotapu on SH5.
The 80km/h speed limit is a reduction from the current legal limit of 100km/h.
How was the speed limit decided?
The speed review process involves numerous steps that help determine the speed limits we propose at consultation.
The first step is completing a technical assessment which takes into account the road itself, the traffic volumes, the crash history, and the way people are currently travelling on the roads.
Following the technical assessment, we undertook informal engagement with road user groups, members of the public, councils, AA, road transport associations, and the Police. The feedback we received from engagement helped to determine if and what we formally consulted on for the proposed speed limit change.
During consultation we asked the community and road users for submissions on any external factors we may need to be aware of. The consultation period ran for four weeks. Once consultation closed, we analysed the submissions and reviewed our technical assessment.
The consultation for proposed speed limit changes is not a vote, it is about seeking valuable local and community input so that we can consider wider factors and context into our decisions.
For more information about how we reached these decisions, please read our consultation summary report.
Setting new speed limits is a legal process, and Waka Kotahi as a Road Controlling Authority (RCA) is responsible for setting new speed limits on New Zealand’s state highways. We are guided by the Speed Management Guide, which is a national framework that helps RCAs make informed, accurate and consistent speed management decisions in their communities. We also need to adhere to the Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2017, which sets out the roles and responsibilities of the RCAs for reviewing and setting speed limits.
When does the speed limit change come into effect and how are the public being notified?
The new speed limit takes effect on Monday 6 July 2020.
The public will be notified of the new permanent speed limits through the newspaper, on the Waka Kotahi website, and on social media.
How many crashes have happened on the route?
There have been 20 crashes on this stretch of road in the ten-year period between 2009 - 2018. Five people were seriously injured.
A small change in speed makes a big difference, especially when cyclists or pedestrians are involved. Most crashes are caused by a number of contributing factors, but even when speed doesn’t cause the crash, it is most likely to determine whether anyone is killed, injured, or walks away unharmed.
Did you consult with the public on this change?
Yes. Between 30 September and 25 October 2019, we consulted with the public on the proposed permanent speed limit. We received 111 submissions.
What is happening with safety and other improvements for SH5 between Wairakei and SH38 and surrounding areas?
We’re also making SH5 between Wairakei and SH38 safer with improvements such as roadside safety barriers, a wide centreline and rumble strips. The first section of this work is underway. For the remainder of the corridor, we are continuing to refine our design and will let the community know once a decision has been made about what further steps will be taken.