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Project introduction

Waka Kotahi is reviewing speeds along SH7 between Maruia Springs and Reefton, where safer speed limits will help stop any more people being killed or seriously injured in crashes.

  • Estimated project dates

    Nov 2021–Dec 2021
  • Project type

    Speed review

Making SH7 between Maruia Springs and Reefton safer

Waka Kotahi is identifying roads throughout Aotearoa New Zealand where reviewing speed limits could make a big difference in preventing people being killed or seriously injured, and where communities are calling for change. 

This speed review focusses on SH7, from Maruia Springs to Reefton in the Buller District. This State Highway passes through the two small townships of Springs Junction and Blacks Point.  The road is two-laned, generally curvy with some winding sections and difficult corners.

We would like to know what you think about the current speed limits on SH7 between Maruia Springs and Reefton. Do the existing speed limits feel safe for the way that people use the road?  Do the existing speed limits affect your community?  What do you think would be a safe speed limit?

We want people to share their thoughts on speeds on this section of the State Highway, including around places like local walking tracks, mountain bike tracks, local school bus routes, marae, businesses, homes and workplaces.

We want everyone who uses our roads to get to where they’re going safely.

Project information sheet [PDF, 1.9 MB] 

Online information session recording:

Feedback closes on Wednesday 24 November 2021

What we know

  • Implementing safer speed limits is a key part of New Zealand’s road safety strategy, Road to Zero 2020-30, and the Safe System approach which acknowledges even responsible people sometimes make mistakes when driving and aims to minimise the impact of those errors. Any proposal to set safe and appropriate speed limits is driven by the need to improve safety and reduce harm for everyone who uses our roads.
  • The safety features of a road and the speed vehicles travel on it influence both the risk of a crash and whether a crash is survivable.
  • We’ve heard concerns from people in the Black Points community that speed limits through their town feel too high to be safe.
  • There have been a high number of crashes on this road. Between 2011 and 2020, there were 112 crashes, with one person killed and 17 people seriously injured.
  • Speed limits need to reflect the risk of the road. The stretch of road between Maruia Springs and Reefton has sweeping bends, narrow shoulders and hazards including power poles, dense vegetation, waterways and trees on the narrow shoulders. We know many of the current speed limits along State Highway 7 are not safe for the way people use the road.
  • This road is used for everything from commuting, to freight, to tourism. Reducing the speed means people walking, cycling, and driving along this road will be kept safer.
  • This section of road is a popular route for trucks and motorcyclists. We are reviewing the speed limits to ensure truck drivers and motorcyclists also feel comfortable pulling out into traffic without putting themselves or anyone else at risk.

Through the speed review process, we will work with the local community to gather, share information and collaborate to ensure we understand your concerns.

Current speed limits and average speeds

Location on SH7 Current speed limits Average speeds
Maruia Springs to Springs Junction 100 km/h 80-84 km/h
Springs Junction township 60 km/h 70–74 km/h
Springs Junction to Blacks Point 100 km/h 85–89 km/h
Blacks Point township 70 km/h 60–64 km/h
Blacks Point to Reefton 100 km/h 65–69 km/h

Speed limit map

View larger map [PDF, 369 KB]

Community engagement

Feedback closed on Wednesday 24 November 2021. We thank everyone who has provided us with their feedback. We are reviewing this feedback and within the coming months we will provide a summary of what we heard and the next steps.

You can see the feedback that people provided via our online tool here:

SH7 Maruia Sprints to Reefton online feedback(external link) 

Find out more about the speed review process

Why safe speeds are important

  • Even when speed doesn’t cause the crash, it’s what will be most likely to determine whether anyone is killed, injured, or walks away unharmed from that crash.
  • As your speed increases you have less time to react.
  • When speeds are safe for the road, simple mistakes are less likely to end in tragedy.
  • Safer speeds are safer for everyone/all road users.
  • A small change in speed can make a big difference to the outcome of a crash.
  • The speeds on a road impact how safe other road users feel to walk, bike, or travel with their children on that same road.

How speed reviews work

More information about speed and the speed review process is available on the ‘Speed Management’ webpage

Speed management

Speed review process

We’re not proposing any new speed limits at this stage of the review. We’ll use the feedback we get during engagement to recommend what speed limits are best for these roads and then formally consult with you. The stages of the speed review process are:

Speed review starts A technical assessment of the road is carried out to find out about crash history, average vehicle speeds, volume of vehicles and development of surrounding areas. This helps to determine what safe and appropriate speeds should be.
Engagement We talk to local communities and stakeholders to understand how the road is being used, find out any safety concerns and get feedback on current speeds.
Formal consultation Changing a speed limit is a legal process, so this stage involves sharing a detailed proposal with people and asking for any additional information that might have an impact on the final decision.
Notification of speed limit change Feedback is considered, a final decision is published on our website, and the public is notified.
New speed limit implemented New speed limit signs are installed on the road.