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

Public engagement

From June to August 2021, we asked people to tell us what they thought about the current speed limits along this route.

We held a series of pop-up events and invited people to give feedback online, and spoke with our Iwi partners, stakeholders and the community to help us understand how people use the road and their concerns.

Engagement is very important for us when deciding if a speed limit change is the best thing to do to improve road safety, where new speed limits might begin or end, and if any other safety improvements might be needed.

We received more than 800 pieces of feedback, with lots of valuable information, and spoke with many people from Banks Peninsula and Christchurch about speeds and safety.

Thank you to everyone who shared their views.

We have reviewed all the feedback and a summary of engagement is available below. This outlines the steps we took and what we heard. You can also read what others had to say on our interactive online map.

Summary of engagement [PDF, 1.3 MB]
Interactive online map(external link)

Project area

Current speed limits on SH73 and SH75 between Christchurch and Akaroa:

View larger map [PDF, 2.2 MB]

Speed limits on SH73/75 are as high as 100km/h but the average (operating) speeds are much lower.

How speed reviews work

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

Speed Review Programme