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Why does the speed limit need to change?

A reduced and consistent speed limit on State Highway 20B (SH20B) will offer more reliable and safer journeys to and from the airport and southwest Auckland.

It is important that we make the road as safe and user-friendly as possible. As part of the SH20B Early Improvements project, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is planning a new road layout, priority lanes, walking and cycling facilities and new signalised intersections along SH20B.

What’s the current speed limit?

SH20B has different speed limits (50km/h and 100km/h) along this 3km section between Pukaki Creek Bridge and the State Highway 20/20B interchange. We are proposing to change the 100km/h zone to a new speed limit of 60km/h.

During construction, there is a temporary speed limit of 50km/h to keep drivers and our workers safe.

What’s the current average speed?

The average speed for vehicles is 60 - 68km/h.

Where did the recommended speed limit come from?

During the development of the detailed design a technical assessment of the road corridor was carried out to identify and analyse the crash history, average vehicle speeds, projected volumes of vehicles and development of the surrounding area. The changing road environment with the rapidly increasing traffic volume was another consideration of the lower speed proposal. It recommended introducing a consistent and reduced speed limit once construction on the early improvements is complete. 

Further assessments including a Road Safety Audit revealed that the safe recommended speed limit of 60km/h. 

Would the new speed limit not increase my journey travel time?

With the average speed of 60 - 68km/h and the early improvements completed, the proposed speed limit wouldn’t impact your travel time or slow your journey but make it safer.

Would the speed limit be reviewed once the areas developed further?

The recommended speed limit was identified considering future plans. However, Waka Kotahi reviews and adapts as the network, users, and demands change to improve safety and journeys. Therefore, the speed limit could be reviewed again in the future. We will always consult with you before making any changes to the speed limit. 

What feedback have you had so far?

As part of the Southwest Gateway Programme 2019 engagement we sought feedback on the proposed speed limit review on SH20B. 194 people responded. Of those, around 86% percent supported a reduced speed limit of 60kph, 8% gave neutral feedback and 5% didn’t support 60km/h.

The most common points raised in the feedback were safety, consistency, less confusion, encouraging cyclists and lowering the speed around schools. 

Who decides on the final speed limit?

After we have heard from partners, stakeholder and the community on completion of the consultation process, we will consider all of the feedback received. As the road controlling authority for state highways, Waka Kotahi will then undergo a gazetting process for the new speed limit before implementing the bylaw if the public agrees to the proposed speed limit.

We will update you on progress with the speed limit change. 

When will the speed limit change?

The final speed limit would be introduced on completion of the SH20B early improvements work next year. 

Would the new speed limit apply to all lanes?

Yes, the posted speed limit will apply to every lane along SH20B and all vehicles and motorbikes except emergency services in emergency situations.

How can I provide my comments and make submissions?

Consultation closes on Sunday 8 November 2020.

BUS/T3 LANES

What are bus/Transit 3 (T3) lanes?

Bus/T3 lanes allow buses and vehicles carrying three or more people. These lanes ease congestion pressure off and offer more reliable travel times for public transport. All bus/T3 lanes would be sign-posted and clearly marked on the road. 

Why do we need the bus/T3 lanes?

The bus/T3 lanes will help reduce congestion and speed up travel times. Having the new priority lanes on SH20B as bus/T3 lanes will offer greater capacity at the intersections, move the most people and will improve the overall efficiency of the corridor.  

Who can use the bus/T3 lanes?

These bus/T3 lanes are only for the use of:

  • public transport
  • any vehicles and taxis with three or more passengers
  • emergency services in the case of an emergency.

What hours would the bus/T3 operate?

The new priority lanes as bus/T3 lanes would operate at all times to make safer and more reliable journeys. 

When would these lanes open?

If the bus/T3 lanes would go ahead, these lanes would be operational once the SH20B early improvements work is complete in early to mid-2021. 

Are there exceptions to using bus/T3 lanes?

The only exceptions to a vehicle using the bus/T3 lanes when they would not otherwise meet the conditions include when

  • people require the lane to make a turn. Use of the lane for these purposes must be kept to a minimum length and be no more than 50 metres and you must give way to any vehicles entitled to use the lane.
  • people encounter a hazard, such as a right turning vehicle with its right turn indicator operating and the vehicle is partially blocking the road. You may signal left and if clear use the priority lane to move around.

Can I use the bus/T3 lanes if there’s no one else in them?

No. You cannot use the bus/T3 lanes except for public transport or vehicles carrying three or more people.

Would these always be bus/T3 lanes?

The best use of these lanes for now might not be the same in the future. These lanes would align with the current and future plans though we always revise and adapt as the network, users and demands change to improve safety and journeys. Therefore, the use of these lanes could change in the future. We will always let you know if something is going to change.

Can I use the bus/T3 lanes if I am turning left?

Other vehicles may use priority lanes to make a turn. Use of the lane for this purpose must be kept to a minimum length and be no more than 50 metres and you must give way to any vehicles entitled to use the lane.

Can I use the bus/T3 lanes to pass other vehicles?

Only when you encounter a hazard such as a right turning vehicle with its right turn indicator operating and the vehicle is partially blocking the road. You may signal left and if clear use the priority lane to move around.

Can emergency services use the bus/T3 lanes?

Yes. Emergency vehicles may travel and stop in a priority vehicle lane at any time if the lights are flashing in response to an emergency.

How would people know they are bus/T3 lanes?

The bus/T3 lanes would be clearly marked with roadside signage before the lanes begin and throughout the lanes. The lanes would also be incrementally painted green and red with ‘T3’ in white, clearly differentiating them from the general-purpose lanes.

Where would I find out about ridesharing and carpooling opportunities in my area?

There are several websites that can help you find car-pooling buddies. We recommend taking a look at Smart Travel NZ.

Smart Travel NZ(external link)

I have an electric vehicle. Can I use the T3 lanes?

You can use the T3 lanes if your vehicle carries three or more people.

Do children, infants and animals count as passengers?

Children and infants qualify as a passenger for priority lane usage. Unfortunately, pets, though part of the family, do not and you could face an infringement for improper use.

I'm pregnant. Do I count as one person or two?

In the priority lane world, you are one person. Babies of any age, however, count as a person.

What about two-seater vehicles?

To maintain a consistent approach, the rule is based not on how many seats you have but on how many people are in the vehicle.

Have you engaged with the community on these lanes?

Yes. Waka Kotahi has engaged with project partners, stakeholders and the community for their views on the SH20B Improvements project. The first was from November 2017 to December 2018 and the second from January to December 2019. This two-staged approach has allowed the project team to consider feedback along with a range of technical assessments, to evaluate options for the state highway improvements.

Engagement Summary Report - November 2017 to December 2018(external link)

The second engagement in 2019 was an opportunity for the project team to share the design, more detailed information on the improvements and announce the start of construction.

Engagement Summary Report - November to December 2019(external link)

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