Our vision

We all deserve a transport system that puts people at the centre – that protects and helps us to get to the places and people important to us, so we can live life to the full.

When our streets are calm and everyone travels at speeds that are appropriate for the road environment, we create inclusive, healthy and people-friendly towns and cities where we can all move around freely, no matter how we choose to travel.

We want our tamariki and future generations to have independence and freedom to thrive. We can do this by designing a transport system that allows young people to get around on their own whether walking, cycling, travelling by scooter or by bus.

Maintaining safe, reliable road and rail freight connections is essential for people on the West Coast, for tourism and the economy.

This is our vision for the West Coast, and an important part of Road to Zero, Aotearoa New Zealand’s road safety strategy.

Road to Zero, Aotearoa New Zealand’s road safety strategy

Our journey to a safe system

The safe system is the international gold standard in road safety management and is the approach that underpins Road to Zero.

To design transport systems with people at the centre, we need to address every part. We need speeds that suit the road and how we use it, vehicles and roads that are designed to protect people, and drivers with the right behaviours. We work alongside our partners to implement key interventions that strengthen each part of the system.

In the West Coast region, we’re continuing to invest in maintaining and operating the state highway and local road networks to maintain critical connections with the remainder of the South Island. Improving preparedness in responding to extreme weather events, maintaining access to tourist locations and improving safety across the road and rail network is a priority.

On SH7, we have replaced the single-lane wooden Ahaura River Bridge and planning for the replacement of the Stoney Creek Bridge has begun.

To help prevent run-off crashes around bridges that too often result in people being killed or seriously injured, we have an ongoing programme of investment to upgrade safety barriers across the region. This includes safety improvements on the Taipō River Bridge – SH73 between Jacksons and Kūmara – one of five single-lane bridges in the programme, expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

On SH6, SH7 and SH69, we plan to invest in the design, and start construction on a number of safety improvements, including new signage and road markings, wider centrelines and installing safety barriers at high-risk locations along 60kms of highway.

To ensure our state highways remain safe and efficient, 148.3 lane kilometres of road renewals were completed in the West Coast region from mid 2021 to mid 2022, and 141.8 lane kilometres are planned as part of the 2022/23 road maintenance programme.

Why are we changing speed limits?

Changing speed limits comes down to what we all value most: protecting the lives of all of us who use our streets and roads.

Speed limits were first set before we knew what was safe and appropriate for our roads. We know this harms people we care about and have a responsibility for.

Appropriate speeds will make the West Coast more inclusive, good for our health and the environment by making it easier and more comfortable for people to walk, ride bikes and use scooters, wheelchairs and other mobility aids to get around. It also gives our tamariki the opportunity for safe, active travel to school on their own, with friends or caregivers.

It’s our responsibility to do better.

We’re taking practical steps to ensure we’re protecting the people and communities we care about - and we welcome you to be part of that journey.

A new approach to managing speeds

Safe speeds around schools

We’re empowering our younger generations to thrive and have the freedom to walk, bus or bike to school by setting new speed limits.

We’re working together with local government on a target of all schools across Aotearoa, including kura kaupapa Māori and Kura ā Iwi, with safe and appropriate speed limits by the end of 2027. That’s approximately 2,500 schools in total, so our future generations can get around safely in ways that are good for their health and the environment.

There are several ways to achieve safe speeds around schools. Some roads may get permanent speed limits and others such as the state highway may use variable speed limits. Our approach considers the surrounding area of a school, to look after tamariki travelling further than the streets outside the front gate.

We aim to deliver safe speed limits to between 80 to 120 schools by mid 2024. The remaining schools will be delivered in our next National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) period (2024–27) because these roading environments are complex and will require longer conversations.

How school zone speed signs work

What we know about the West Coast

The different ways our state highways in the West Coast are being used

We’re working hard to ensure the region’s highways are safe, resilient and well maintained to effectively support the forestry, fishing, mining, agriculture and tourism industries that underpin the West Coast’s economy.

The West Coast’s dispersed settlement, relative isolation to neighbouring regions, vulnerability to adverse weather events and mountainous coastal terrain present significant challenges for the state highway network, which forms a critical lifeline link between the region’s communities and the remainder of the South Island. Safety, resilience, and access are critical given the vulnerability of West Coast highways to storms and surface flooding, slips, rockfall and coastal erosion.

  • SH6 is an exceptionally scenic tourism and freight route. It links many West Coast towns and settlements including schools and community amenities almost the length of the South Island from the Port of Nelson through to Invercargill. In parts it is a challenging and remote drive, with narrow lanes, many single lane bridges and roadside hazards, undulating terrain and tight corners, which increase the risk of crashes.
  • SH7 supports the many communities and settlements of the south-eastern Buller District including Reefton and Blacks Point and provides the main link between Christchurch and Greymouth.
  • SH67 links SH6 to Westport, Mokihinui and Karamea as well as SH67A to Cape Foulwind. Granity School and St Canice’s School in Westport are located on SH67, which is also a freight route and popular with tourists.

Findings from our analysis

As part of our analysis to determine the appropriate speed for a road, we consider the characteristics and nature of the road and its surrounding environment, how people are using the road, and collective safety risk.

The findings from our analysis around schools on State Highways 6, 65 and 67 showed:

  • The roads are used for commuting, moving freight and tourism, and there are also a variety of road users. Lower speeds mean people driving, walking and cycling, including tamariki going to and from school will be safer and more comfortable. 

The findings from our analysis on State Highways 6 and 7 showed:

  • The current speed limits are not appropriate for the characteristics and nature of the road, including where there are unpredictable, sharper bends and hazards such as steep drop offs.
  • Sections of the state highway are heavily used by trucks, and recent adjacent growth and development have changed the way people access these roads.
  • There’s a need to set appropriate speeds limits in and around townships where roads are used by a range of people to access both essential and recreational services. Reducing speed limits help protect everyone, including vulnerable communities such as tamariki, people walking or cycling, and older generations. 

What we’ve heard so far

We’ve had ongoing conversations with a range of partners, organisations and groups that have an interest or would be impacted by our plans to manage speed on our state highways.

Some key themes we’ve heard from these conversations:

  • People are reporting near-misses and safety concerns, particularly around schools.
  • Collaboration and input into the process is wanted from the community, as well as comprehensive information.
  • Communities are interested in knowing what safety infrastructure is planned as well as speed reductions, and why
  • People want to see consistency and continuity of speed limits on all West Coast roads.

We’ve considered feedback from these conversations alongside our analysis as factors to develop our draft Interim State Highway Speed Management Plan.

Draft Interim State Highway Speed Management Plan [PDF, 25 MB]

Proposed speed limits on the West Coast

Following our analysis and conversations with partners, interested groups and organisations, we propose the following new speed limits:

Speed limit map

Map showing locations of proposed speed limit changes in West Coast

View larger map and speed limit tables [PDF, 2.5 MB]

Speed limit tables

  • Speed limits around schools
    State highway School Existing speed limit (km/h) Proposed new speed limit (km/h)
    6 Barrytown School 100 100/≤60*
    6 Greymouth High School 50 50/30*
    6 Ross School 50 50/30*
    6 Whataroa School 80 80/30*
    6 Franz Josef Glacier School 80 80/30*
    65 Maruia School 100 100/≤60*
    67 Granity School 50 50/30*
    67 St Canice’s School (Westport) 50 50/30*
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  • Other speed limits
    State highway Reference number (refer to map) Location Description Existing speed limit (km/h) Proposed new speed limit (km/h)
    6 1 Punakaiki township North of the Pancake Rocks Blowhole area to south of the stopping area 60 40
    7 1 Reefton township West of Ross Street to near Kelly Street 50 40
    7 2 Blacks Point township South of Franklyn Street to south of Anderson Street 70 60
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We’ll work directly with communities when we begin the implementation phase to finalise speed limit sign locations.

These new speed limits will help us take steps towards a safe system on the West Coast by:

  • ensuring state highways with a school entry point have speeds reduced to care for children travelling to and from school
  • reflecting the street or road environment better and how people are moving about – including visitors to the West Coast, such as people walking and cycling, alongside commuters, trucks and freight using the road
  • setting appropriate speeds in visitor ‘hot spots’ like Punakaiki, and where the community is asking for change such as Blacks Point and Reefton.
  • reducing the risk of a crash because people will have more time to react to mistakes and avoid collisions
  • helping protect people if a crash does occur, as slower speeds result in lower crash forces. 

Frequently asked questions

Have your say

Consultation on the Interim State Highway Speed Management Plan closed on 12 December 2022.

When the Plan has been certified by the Director of Land Transport, we’ll provide an update. We anticipate this taking place in mid-2023.

We are striving to work with all of our communities. If you would like to receive this information translated into te reo Māori, please email us: speedmanagement@nzta.govt.nz

Kei te kaha mātou ki te mahi me ō mātou hapori katoa. Ki te hiahia koe i ēnei mōhiohio i whakamāoritia ki te reo Māori, whakapā mai i konei: speedmanagement@nzta.govt.nz