We have talked to the community, the local police, road user and freight groups, and local businesses about the current speed limits and they have raised concerns that the current speeds feel too high to be safe for this stretch of road.
We were aware that the local community wanted a speed review in West Melton, and this was further confirmed when engagement and consultation was undertaken. People contacted us to say that the speeds felt unsafe to them, and with the development of the area and the associated increase in traffic, it was appropriate to review speeds on this stretch of road.
The new speed limit in West Melton is now 60km/h, a reduction of 10km/h from the previous speed limit of 70km/h.
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 will formally consult on for proposed speed limit changes.
During consultation we ask the community and road users for submissions on any external factors, we may need to be aware of. The consultation period runs for a minimum of 4 weeks. Once consultation closes, we analyse the submissions and review our technical assessment.
The consultation for the 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.
We received 101 submissions via the online submission form, hard copy submission form, email and phone.
People were not asked whether they supported or did not support the proposed speed limits. We provided information on why we were proposing these speed limits. The public were asked if there were any other factors we should take into consideration when setting the permanent speed limits. For details of the submissions, you can read our Consultation Report.
The new speed limits take effect on 12 October 2020.
The public will be notified of the new permanent speed limits through the newspaper and website advertising, on the Transport Agency website, and on social media. We will also contact those who had made a submission as part of the speed review consultation process. The public will see the new speed limit signs up from 12 October 2020.
When setting a limit, Waka Kotahi or any other road controlling authority needs to consider a range of factors. Some of these are described in the Setting of Speed Limits Rule 2017, and include what the road is like, how it is used, how safe it is and what the risks are. Other considerations include potential development that could generate more traffic, the number of property accessways, the volume of traffic, and the severity of crashes that have occurred along this section of highway.
For SH73, Waka Kotahi carried out a technical assessment which considered all these factors. It found that the current road environment and development, number of intersections and property accesses, traffic volumes, and crash history meant the safe and appropriate speed is 60km/h.
There have been 14 crashes in the ten-year period between 2009-2018, one of them causing injury.
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.
As part of the NZ Upgrade programme, funding has been announced for design and installation of improvements at the intersection of SH73 and Weedons Ross Road.