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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.

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:

  • some members from the local community had contacted us advising they felt the current speed limits were unsafe.
  • there has been an increase in traffic and pedestrian activity on this road.

What are the new permanent speed limits?

The new speed limit in Burkes Pass is now 60km/h, a reduction of 20km/h from the previous speed limit of 80km/h.

View the map here [JPG, 63 KB]

How were those limits 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 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.

Consultation summary report [PDF, 879 KB]

Learn about the speed review process

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. 

Read the Speed Management Guide(external link) 

The Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2017

When do the speed limit changes come into effect and how are the public being notified?

The new speed limits take effect on 12 October.

The public will be notified of the new permanent speed limits through the newspaper and website advertising, on Waka Kotahi’s website, and on social media. The public will see the new speed limit signs up from 12 October.

Why don't the limits stay at 80km/h?

The review undertaken assessed that 80km/h in Burkes Pass is not a safe and appropriate speed for the route.  Residents were particularly concerned about the safety of the pedestrians in the area, with high volumes of people accessing hot spots such as the historic church and the local shops and facilities.

Lower permanent speed limits were needed to reduce the likelihood and the number of crashes which result in death and serious injuries.

How many crashes have happened on the route?

In the ten-year period between 2009 and 2018, there have been two crashes on the highway in the vicinity of Burkes Pass One of these resulted in a person incurring a minor 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.

Did you consult with the public on these changes?

Yes. We formally consulted between 21 October and 15 November 2019 with the public on the proposed speed limits changes. We received 44 submissions.

You can read our consultation summary and view the submissions:

Why was the speed limit not lowered to 50km/h through Burkes Pass, as was requested by some submitters?

Lowering the speed limit to 60km/h is a reduction of 20km/h and will make a large difference in reducing speeds through the township.

It’s important that the speed limit is a good fit for the way the road is used and the surrounding environment – this helps drivers to see why they need to adjust their speed and means they are more likely to follow the limit. The area through Burkes Pass has homes and some businesses but is not as densely built up as areas that have 50km/h speed limits. The 60km/h speed limit is a good match for this environment and is consistent with other rural townships throughout Canterbury and NZ.

What is happening with the speed review and other safety improvements for the nearby Tekapo areas?

We are working with the Tekapo community to progress a review of the speed limit and other safety features in the town.  It is expected that we will be going out for public consultation within the coming months.