Speed limits on some key roads in Carterton and South Wairarapa look likely to remain at 100kmh, but limits around schools and marae could drop.
The debate around speed limits in the region comes as National promises to reverse speed limit reductions on state highways and neighbouring roads if elected into power.
A Carterton District Council [CDC] committee has recommended the speed limit on some key access roads between Carterton and neighbouring South Wairarapa District – Carters Line, Kokotau Rd and Ponotahi Rd – remain at 100kph. However, the committee recommends lowering the speeds on some other roads, and near schools and marae.
Earlier this year, the speed limit on State Highway 2, managed by Waka Kotahi, was reduced to 80kph between Featherston and Masterton, despite community opposition.
More than 1300 community submissions were opposed to the lower speed limit.
Since the SH2 speed reductions, traffic on nearby council-controlled 100kmh roads has increased, especially on Hughes Line just before Masterton, which is near the site of what were significant road works this year.
When he visited Wairarapa on Sunday, National Party leader Christopher Luxon said his party will lift the speed limit on SH2 back to 100kmh if able to form a government after the election.
Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty, the current Labour candidate for the region, had opposed Waka Kotahi lowering the speed limit to 80kmh.
The council hearings committee considered a report last week, which included a raft of recommendations based in part on community feedback on speed limits.
The committee endorsed recommendations that support speed cuts near schools and early childhood centres [about which 82 per cent of submissions were in favour] and near marae [67 per cent in favour].
CDC received 187 submissions on what were described as “high priority roads”, with 62 per cent opposing speed reductions.
A report to the committee said the community is not necessarily opposed to a reduction in speed on all high-priority roads, just on specific roads.
In recommending maintaining the speed at 100kmh, the report said there is strong community opposition to reducing speeds on Carters Line, Kokotau Rd, and Ponotahi Rd, which also aligns with SWDC community opposition.
It’s recommended the speed on Hughes Line, Cornwall Rd, and East Taratahi Rd, between SH2 and Hughes Line, is reduced from 100kmh to 80kmh.
The committee heard the community does not support a reduction from 100kmh to 60kmh.
“Due to the 80kmh speed limit on SH2, as we saw earlier this year, Hughes Line would be a popular bypass for state highway traffic if left unchanged,” the report said.
“Following a community outcry earlier this year regarding traffic volume and the speed they were travelling, we temporarily reduced the speed limit to 70kmh.
“Road user behaviour and safety on Hughes Line improved significantly after the temporary speed reduction was implemented and there was an increase in police presence.”
By contrast, there had been no community opposition to reducing parts of Park Rd, Moreton Rd, Johnsons Rd, and Waitangi Rd to either 60kmh or 80kmh, which the committee endorsed. Rutland Rd is recommended to increase to 60kph from the current 50kph.
Other recommendations include no change to existing speed limits on Norfolk Rd from David Lowes Lane to Chester Rd, no change to existing speed limits on David Lowes Lane, Maungahau Rd and Jordan Rd, and reducing Waingawa Rd to 60kmh.
CDC will consider all the recommendations at its next meeting in October.
Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air