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100kmh no more

State Highway 2, just south of Masterton. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND

NZTA’s proposal to slow down Wairarapa

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Speed limits between Featherston and Masterton will be dropped to 80kmh if a proposal from the New Zealand Transport Agency goes ahead.

NZTA made public plans on Monday to rid State Highway 2 of a 100kmh speed limit in Wairarapa.

It now wants feedback on the proposal from residents.

NZTA said the speed review would save lives and prevent serious injuries on SH2.

“Between January 2010 and December 2019, four people lost their lives and 28 people were seriously injured on SH2 between Masterton and Featherston,” NZTA regional relationships director Emma Speight said.

“Even when speed isn’t the direct cause of a crash, it is always a factor in the severity and can be the difference between a person being killed, seriously injured, or walking away from a crash. Safer speeds can save lives.”

Alongside the speed review, NZTA has also designed new safety infrastructure improvements.

Flexible safety barriers would be installed down the middle of the road to prevent head-on crashes.

Included in the proposal are three roundabouts [East Taratahi, Norfolk, and Ngaumutawa roads], and raised pedestrian crossings.

“We are sharing our proposed speed limit changes and finalised designs for the roundabouts and barriers, and asking the community to tell us what they think,” Speight said.

The proposal was welcomed by Wairarapa leaders on Monday.

Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty said making safety improvements was a priority.

“With a growing population and three to four years to go until the Manawatu-Tararua highway is completed, traffic is only going to increase.

“That has led to an additional proposal to reduce speed limits.”

“It’s vital that Wairarapa gets its voice heard so that the best decisions for our region are made. I encourage everyone to make a submission and be part of this process.”

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said it was great to see the long-standing issue of safer access southbound on to SH2 from both Ngaumutawa Rd and Norfolk Rd being addressed with the proposed roundabout.

“This has been discussed for many years – I’m pleased it made it to this proposal. I am also pleased to see the plans include a crossing at SH2 in Solway, making it easier and safer for Solway School kids and their families who live on the east of SH2 to get across the road.”

A Masterton District Council spokesperson said while the proposed speed restrictions did not have a big impact within the Masterton district, they welcomed the discussion it would raise across the region.

“We encourage road users from across the Masterton district to consider the impacts of the proposed changes and, where they would like to, make a submission to [NZTA].”

Carterton Mayor Greg Lang was also pleased with the proposal.

“There has been a huge amount of work put in by the three Wairarapa mayors on this front.

“We have engaged with our communities and with the Waingawa Industrial Users Group to help [NZTA] produce a proposal which reflects road users’ needs across the region.

“It is really essential these infrastructure improvements go ahead, especially with the growth we’re seeing in Wairarapa and the number of visitors we receive.”

Carterton District Council’s interim chief executive Blair King encouraged residents, freight companies, and emergency services to provide feedback on NZTA’s proposed new roundabouts, changes to a passing bay, and lower speed limits, because this would affect all road users across the region.

“We have been working closely with [NZTA] on how to improve safety and efficiency along SH2, that recognises its importance for local road users and as an inter-regional arterial route.

Council is also considering speed limit reviews on the local roading network, that we expect to release for consultation soon.”

  • People can provide their feedback by visiting nzta.govt.nz/projects/sh2-wairarapa-highway-improvements or emailing [email protected]
  • The consultation period opened on Monday and closes at 5pm on Friday, August 27.

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