Thursday, May 19, 2022

Highway speed reduction opposed

HAWKE’S Bay Regional Council has hit back at Waka Kotahi (NZTA) plans to reduce the speed limit on a 76km stretch of the Napier-Taupō highway from 100km to 80km.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has asked for a proposal to cut the speed limit on the Napier-Taupō highway to be reviewed, after it recommended that a 76km stretch of the Napier-Taupō highway be reduced from 100km to 80km.

HAWKE’S Bay Regional Council has hit back at Waka Kotahi (NZTA) plans to reduce the speed limit on a 76km stretch of the Napier-Taupō highway from 100km to 80km.

After a meeting on Thursday, the council’s regional transport committee said that it opposed the proposed speed reduction and asked Waka Kotahi to review its decision.

“We believe that the decision was predetermined, and did not fully take into account the thousands of submissions against the proposal,” the committee said in a statement.

It agreed that there were issues with the road (State Highway 5), but those issues will not solely be solved through a reduction in speed.

“State Highway 5 is a lifeline for the region and our transport system. It is as important to us as the Auckland Harbour Bridge is to Auckland. It is vital to our competitiveness as a region, not least for the Port of Napier,” it said.

“We find there is a lack of strategic management of SH5, and the focus has been solely through the speed lens, without taking adequate consideration of the flow on and broader social and economic effects.

The committee said it appreciated that Waka Kotahi was in a difficult position as it’s under direction from the Government to reduce death and serious injuries without adequate resources.

“That is where the battle lies,” it said.

“The question we are discussing is not about safety but about method. If this is meant to be a whole-of-system approach, then this approach is lacking. We as a region deserve better. 

“We are demanding a commitment to investment in the SH5 corridor that will enable the 100km to be reinstated without safety concerns for our communities, or lives being put at risk.”

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