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Project introduction

Waka Kotahi and Christchurch City Council are proposing safer speeds on SH73 and SH75 from Christchurch to Akaroa, on some local side roads and on SH74 at Norwich Quay/Gladstone Quay in Lyttelton.

  • Estimated project dates

    Jun 2021–Feb 2022
  • Project type

    Speed review

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What we know

It’s a scenic and much-loved route for drivers and motorcyclists but State Highway 73/75 between Christchurch and Akaroa is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s highest-risk roads.

Anyone who’s made the trip knows that it requires care, concentration and safe speeds behind the wheel.

Stretches of straight road end in sharp bends and these are where the highest number of fatal and serious vehicle crashes have happened. The winding sections have steep drop-offs and reduced visibility, and this is where increasing numbers of motorcyclists are being killed and injured.  

Cyclists and pedestrians all use the road in close proximity to passing vehicles. Unforgiving roadside conditions and narrow shoulders mean there’s little margin for error if simple mistakes are made.

In the last decade there have been 739 crashes (that we know of) on this road*.  Nine people were killed and 72 people suffered serious injuries in these crashes, leaving families grieving and many people with potentially life-long injuries.

Even if speed doesn't cause the crash, speed on impact determines whether the people involved are killed, injured or walk away unharmed.

A small change in speed on this route will make a big difference to the outcome of a crash and the people involved.

That’s why we are reviewing speeds between Christchurch and Akaroa this year, to make sure they are safe and right for the road.

* On SH73/75 over the period 2011-2020, data extracted August 2021 from the Crash Analysis System (CAS).

Investigation and evidence

The speed review process involves a number of steps that help determine the speed limits we propose at consultation. 

We complete a technical assessment that considers the road itself, the traffic volumes, the crash history, and the way people are currently travelling on the roads.

A review of average travel speeds shows people are typically driving below the existing speed limits.

Earlier this year, we engaged with road user groups, members of the public, councils, local  rūnanga, AA, NZ police and others to provide  feedback which helped to inform the proposed safe and appropriate speed limits.

Summary of engagement [PDF, 1.3 MB]

The speed limits of 80km/h, 60km/h, 50km/h and variable 30/40km/h were assessed to be the safe and appropriate speeds for this route.

View the table of highway current speeds, proposed speeds and average speeds

Proposed speed limits

Map showing proposed speeds on SH73, SH75 and SH74:

We are also asking for more feedback from the community about Takamatua Straight, to help us with our final decision. Our technical evidence could support two different speed limits safely. So before we make a decision, we are asking for more information from the community  about highway speed and safety in Takamatua, including when using the crossroads.

We are also consulting on State Highway 74 at Norwich Quay/Gladstone Quay. This section of highway has been included in consultation to align with the safer speeds recently approved for Lyttelton township by Christchurch City Council.

The Council is proposing speed reductions on some local side roads adjoining the highway in townships including Motukarara through to Takamatua. The proposed speeds align with local road speed reductions introduced earlier this year on Banks Peninsula and with the proposed safer highway speeds.

View the table of local roads, with their current speeds, proposed speeds and average speeds

Feedback on these local roads can be made on our online map(external link)

What you need to know


Proposed new speed limit (km/h)

Variable Speed Limit (VSL) at schools

Our tamariki are vulnerable at busy school drop-off and pick-up times so we’re proposing to lower the existing Variable Speed Limit* (VSL) outside Halswell School from 40 to 30km/h, and to introduce a new 30km/h VSL outside Tai Tapu School.

*Changes in speed legislation affecting school zones are expected in 2022. We’re consulting on the lower VSLs now to save consulting with you again next year. This may mean a delay in the 30km/h VSL being ready when new speed limits on SH73 and SH75 are passed by law and introduced in 2022.

Little River

We’re proposing a 50km/h limit through Little River. This is because the township is often busy with parked cars, turning and through traffic, and people cycling and walking on both sides of the road. Also, average travel speeds through Little River are slower than the current speed limit.

Minor safety improvements, such as improved signage and line markings until just past Wairewa Marae, are being considered.

Wairewa Marae We’re proposing the 50km/h speed limit for Little River township is extended out to include Wairewa Marae entrance to improve safety for people at this location. We will install new signs and trim surrounding trees, so marae buildings are more visible. Then drivers will be more aware they are nearing a marae and there could be people about.
Takamatua Straight Our technical evidence could support both a 60km/h or an 80km/h limit here. A 60km/h limit meets people’s requests for consistent speeds and would reduce the risk of near-misses people are telling us are happening at the intersection of Takamatua Valley Road (40km/h proposed by Christchurch City Council). However, 80km/h recognises this is an open section of road with good visibility and our technical assessment, along with public feedback, supports a higher limit. We’d appreciate more specific feedback from the community before making a decision.
Little River, Duvauchelle and Cooptown These townships will receive minor entrance upgrades such as improved signage, which is shown to encourage drivers to slow down in urban areas.
Norwich Quay/Gladstone Quay We’re proposing 40km/h on this short section of SH74 to align with recent speed reductions to Lyttelton’s urban streets approved by the Council recently. This is a busy thoroughfare with lots of people about – pedestrians, along with cars and buses as well as heavy vehicles moving to and from Lyttelton Port.
Local side roads adjoining SH75

The Council is proposing speed reductions on some local side roads adjoining SH75 in Motukarara, Kaituna Valley, Little River, Cooptown, Duvauchelle, Ngaio Point/Robinsons Bay and Takamatua. The proposed speeds align with local road speed reductions consulted on earlier this year and with proposed safer speed limits on SH75.

Project timeframes

We are now formally consulting on the proposed new safer speeds.

Speed review process

Once consultation is closed we’ll review community feedback alongside technical findings and will announce a decision on speed limits in the first part of 2022.

Subscribe to updates and we will formally notify you of the review outcome(external link)

Any changes to speed limit signs along this route will likely take place in the first quarter of 2022.

Have your say

We are now formally consulting on the proposed new speeds for this route.

Consultation gives stakeholders and the community an opportunity to provide any final input so that we can consider wider factors and context before finalising our decision.

Find out how to have your say

How speed reviews work

More information about speed and the speed review process is available on the Speed Review Programme webpage.

Speed Review Programme

Our partners on this project