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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is reviewing speeds on state highways between Raglan and Hamilton, Whatawhata and Ōtorohanga , and Kāwhia and SH31/39 near Pirongia to ensure they are safe and appropriate for the roads.

Waka Kotahi Director of Regional Relationships Steve Mutton says he has had many requests and even petitions from communities who live on or near State Highways 23, 31 and 39 in west Waikato.

“We have received petitions asking for lower speeds through settlements such as Te Uku and Whatawhata, and many residents have expressed their concerns to us about the speed limits being too high to feel safe,” he said.

“Between 2009 and 2018 there were 17 fatalities and 104 people seriously injured as a result of crashes on the highways under consideration in this speed review. Our priority is to make these highways safer as soon as possible so that everyone living on and using them can get where they are going safely.”

No matter what causes a crash, speed is most likely to determine whether someone is killed, injured, or walks away unharmed.

Ōtorohanga District Council is also undertaking discussions with their communities as they consider making similar changes to their road network. The Waikato and Waipa District Councils have either lowered, or are in the process of lowering, speed limits on a number of local roads connected to these state highways.

“Engaging with the community on the current speeds helps us get feedback and local knowledge on how the road is used and what concerns people may have. This feedback helps us determine if a speed limit change will improve safety,” Mr Mutton says.

Waka Kotahi is hosting drop-in sessions around west Waikato between 26 October and 11 November.  These sessions are an opportunity for people to talk with the team about safe speeds and the review process, and to share their ideas on what they believe the safe and appropriate speeds are.

The sessions planned are:

  • Pirongia War Memorial Hall, Tuesday 27 October, 2-7pm
  • Ōtorohanga Countdown, Wednesday 28 October, 2-7pm
  • Kāwhia Community Hall, Tuesday 3 November, 2-7pm
  • Whatawhata Village Cafe, Tuesday 10 November, 2-7pm
  • Raglan Town Hall, Wednesday 11 November, 2-7pm

People can give also feedback online and find out more information on the speed reviews by visiting: www.nzta.govt.nz/west-waikato-speed-review(external link)

The engagement period will run from 26 October – 16 November. Feedback received will then be considered as part of the decision making about whether a formal speed review will proceed. If Waka Kotahi does decide to proceed with a formal speed review, this will include an official public consultation on any proposed changes to the speed limits.

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