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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is reviewing speed limits on State Highway 35 (SH35) between Gisborne and Opotiki in an effort to save lives and prevent serious injuries from crashes along the high-risk road.

The Transport Agency is proposing to lower speed limits to make the road safer for all who use it. Because the road is 335km long, speed limits will be reviewed in two stages, starting with Gisborne to Te Puia Springs, then Te Puia Springs to Opotiki.

Between 2009 and July 2019, 20 people were killed and 111 were seriously injured in crashes along SH35 between Gisborne and Opotoki.

“No crash resulting in death or serious injury is acceptable on our roads,” Director of Regional Relationships Emma Speight says.

“High speeds increase both the likelihood and the severity of crashes, regardless of the cause.

“The Transport Agency’s analysis shows that the speed limits on parts of SH35 between Gisborne and Opotiki are not safe and appropriate for the road, so it’s vital that we take this opportunity to consider what speed limits are safe for this road.

“This is a challenging road with many tight and difficult corners, leaving little margin for error, especially when high speeds are involved.

“As well as looking at lowering the speed limits, we will also be consulting on options to improve and stabilise some sections of the road, making it safer and more resilient. We will also be seeking feedback on the best locations to add more passing opportunities.

“Locals know the road best and we value feedback from residents, communities and businesses about the changes they would like to see.”

Stage 1 of the speed review includes:

  • Engagement (gathering feedback): Gisborne to Te Puia Springs open road
  • Consultation (seeking submissions on proposals): Gisborne to Te Puia Springs townships

The Transport Agency is proposing reduced speed limits in Te Puia Springs, Pouawa, Makorori, Okitu and Tamarau, and is now formally consulting the public and stakeholders on these proposals.

What we’re proposing:

  • SH35 Tamarau: 70km/h-80km/h to 60km/h
    From 60m east of Wheatstone Road to 40m west of Coldstream Road (existing speed limit change point)
  • SH35 Okitu: 70km/h to 60km/h
    From 350m north of Sirrah Street to 100m south-west of Wairere Road (both existing speed limit change points)
  • SH35 Makorori to Pouawa: 100km/h to 80km/h
    From 400m south of Pouawa Bridge to 350m north of Sirrah Street (existing speed limit change point)
  • SH35 Turihaua and Pouawa Beaches (seasonal): 70km/h to 60km/h
    From 400m south of Pouawa Bridge to 600m south of Turihaua Bridge (existing speed limit change points). This seasonal speed limit is from 20 December to 1 February (existing seasonal timeframe)
  • SH35 Te Puia Springs township: 70km/h to 60km/h
    From 80m north of Waipiro Road to 20m south of Cemetery Road (both existing speed limit changes)

To have your say on the proposed changes you can:

The formal consultation period for these speed limit proposals runs from 4 November to 6 December 2019.

At the same time, the Transport Agency also wants to hear the public’s views on speeds on the open road. This feedback, along with technical assessments, will be used to make a proposal which will then be formally consulted on with the public.

To further improve safety and access on the Tairawhiti network, the Transport Agency will also be working with the public and stakeholders to identify possible sites for more passing opportunities on State Highways 2 and 35, and to develop a package of targeted improvements for treating some of the worst slip and subsidence sites on SH35 between Gisborne and Potaka.

To share your thoughts on the safe and appropriate speeds for the open road between Gisborne and Te Puia Springs, on the best locations to add safe passing opportunities, and on the areas of SH35 that most need reinforcing, head to one of our community drop-in sessions or visit www.nzta.govt.nz/sh35-have-your-say

Drop-in sessions:

  • Te Puia Springs
    Monday 18 November, 5.15pm–7.15pm
    Te Puia Springs Hospital, 4 McKenzie Street
  • Tokomaru Bay
    Tuesday 19 November, 5.15pm–7.15pm
    Senior Citizens’ Association, 6 Tokomaru Street
  • Tolaga Bay
    Wednesday 20 November, 5.15pm–7.15pm
    Tolaga Bay Fire Station, 41 Cook Street
  • Wainui Beach
    Thursday 21 November 5.15pm–7.15pm
    Wainui Beach School, 56 Wairere Road
  • Te Araroa
    Monday 25 November, 5.15pm–7.15pm
    Te Araroa Fire Station, 51 Pohatu Road
  • Ruatoria
    Tuesday 26 November, 5.15pm–7.15pm
    Ruatoria Fire Station, Waiomatatini Road

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