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SH94 Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound permanent speed limits

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Project introduction

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has consulted on proposals to set new permanent speed limits on SH94 from near the eastern entrance to the Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound. After considering the consultation feedback people provided Waka Kotahi has now made its decisions on these proposals.

  • Project type

    Speed review
  • Project status

    Completed

Background

From November to December 2019, Waka Kotahi consulted on safe and appropriate speeds on the 19km section of SH94 from the eastern approach to the Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound.

SH94 is the solitary road link to Milford Sound one of our most iconic tourist attractions, and widely used by visitors and our tour operators, and an economic lifeline for the Milford Sound community and Fiordland businesses.

This speed review is part of the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Speed Management Programme because this route is in the top 10% of highway corridors in the country for fatal and serious injury crashes in the country. Other reasons included community support for a speed review and to ensure safe and consistent permanent speed limits from the eastern approach to the Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound.

Permanent speed limits

The following new speed limits are effective from Wednesday, 11 August.2021.

Location Current speed limit New speed limit
1km of highway east of the Homer Tunnel to the eastern tunnel entrance, through the Homer Tunnel (1.7km) and 2km of highway west of the Homer Tunnel to the western tunnel entrance. 100km/h 30–60km/h* variable speed limit
From the where the variable speed limit ends on the western approach to the Homer Tunnel for 14km to Milford Sound. 80/100km/h 80km/h
A 500m section of SH94 from Milford Sound to east of Deep Water Basin Road. 80km/h 30km/h

*The variable speed limit will be used to safely manage highway issues including weather and rockfall events and vehicle crashes. Variable speed limit operating options being 30/40/60km/h.

Note: The above new permanent highway speed limits applying are the same as those Waka Kotahi consulted on between November and December 2019.

Investigation and evidence

When determining the proposed speed limits that were consulted on, we reviewed the speeds that people are currently driving on this road, as well as the road itself. The permanent speed limits we decided on were assessed as safe and appropriate speed for this section of highway.

Consultation feedback from the local community, businesses, tour operators and key stakeholders showed broad but not unanimous support for lower speed limits. Several submitters wanted other measures to improve safety concerns on this road. These included Ideas addressing dangerous driver behaviour, increased Police enforcement and providing more safe passing opportunities.

A considerable investment has been made over the last three years in safety improvements on this highway including bridge widening, safety barriers and curve signage as part of the Visitor Driver Safety programme.

Several factors were carefully considered, including consultation feedback, before we decided on these new permanent and safer speed limits for this highway corridor. These included its high crash rate, narrow winding nature, mountainous terrain, severe and unpredictable weather, and the risk for the many road users unfamiliar with driving in this environment.

Crash history

Between 2009 and 2018, there 76 crashes on SH 94 on the section of highway from the eastern approach to the Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound. Three were fatal and eight involved serious injury. Around 40 percent of the 76 crashes occurred in the 2016 and 2018 period, when traffic volumes were high and driven by the pre COVID-19 tourism boom.

Frequently asked questions

Find out more about the SH94 Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound permanent speed limits by reading the frequently asked questions.

Frequently asked questions

Consultation and submissions

Public consultation closed on 19 December 2019.

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

Consultation summary report [PDF, 1.8 MB]
Consultation submissions [PDF, 2.7 MB]

How speed reviews work

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

Speed management