Project introduction

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has set a new 50km/h speed limit on SH90 at the southern entrance to Tapanui.

  • Project type

    Speed review
  • Project status



From October to November 2019 Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency consulted on a safe and appropriate speed limit on a 200m section of SH90 on the southern entrance into Tapanui in West Otago. SH90 between Gore and Raes Junction is an important highway link between Southland and Central Otago.

Speed is the biggest safety issue the community has about this section of highway. Over the last two years the community have become more forceful in their calls for a lower speed limit on the SH90 southern entrance into Tapanui. Many residents say the current 100km/h highway speed is too fast in an area where there are now businesses, including a new housing development, on both sides of the highway. Business owners and those living in the housing development told us the current 100km/h speed limit makes the road feel unsafe.

Locals gave several reasons for wanting a lower speed limit. These included issues around safely accessing this section of highway from driveways, because highway traffic is often travelling too fast, making it hard to judge the speed of approaching vehicles. Several of those living in the area said the existing 100km/h speed limit doesn’t give drivers time to slow down before entering a residential area.

In 2018, the average daily vehicle count on SH90 southern entrance into Tapanui was 1300 vehicles a day a 3 percent increase on four years earlier.

Permanent speed limit

During consultation we proposed reducing the existing 100km/h speed limit to 50km/h over a 200m section of SH90 from the existing 50km/h speed limit 200m south toward Gore from where the existing speed limit ends. This 50km/h speed limit is now the new permanent highway speed limit from Friday, 4 December 2020.

Map of new permanent speed limit

View larger map [PDF, 191 KB]

Investigation and evidence

We considered several factors determining the new speed limit we would consult on. These included the current average highway vehicle speed (between 85-89km/h), the number and types of vehicles using the highway, pedestrian safety, driver behaviour and access onto the highway from driveway and side roads. There was also input from a range of technical and stakeholder experts.

We proposed reducing the speed limit on SH90 at the southern entrance to Tapanui by extending the existing 50km/h township limit southward to a new speed limit change point. This best reflects the change from a rural to urban environment and will get greater driver compliance with the new limit. Waka Kotahi’s technical assessment also supports a 50km/h speed limit. There’s high community and stakeholder demand for a consistent lower speed limit throughout the whole of the township. Some feedback supported different limits including speed limit transitions. We consider the single speed limit change point at the proposed location as the best and one that met Waka Kotahi speed management best practice. A gateway buildout, speed limit thresholds road markings and flush medians are planned to raise driver awareness of the lower speed limit and reinforce the speed limit change point.

Crash history

Between 2009 and 2018 there has been one minor injury and one non-injury crash on this section of SH90.

Travel times

The new permanent speed limit over this short 200m section of highway should only add a few seconds to the travel time of drivers.


Find out more about the SH90 Tapanui permanent speed limit by reading the frequently asked questions.  

Frequently asked questions 

Consultation and submissions

Public consultation on this speed review closed on 29 November 2019.

73 submissions were received during the consultation period from stakeholder organisations and public.

How speed reviews work

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