From tomorrow, Saturday September 22, the New Zealand Transport Agency is lowering the speed limit from 100km/h to 80km/h on a high-risk section of State Highway 58.
“Since 2008, four people have died and 68 people have been injured, including 15 seriously, in almost 200 crashes on this road,” says Mark Owen, NZTA’s Regional Transport Systems Manager, referring to the section of SH58 between State Highway 2 and the Pauatahanui roundabout.
The road is narrow with tight, difficult curves, and many access points and intersections making it a challenging road to drive
“Statistically, this is the Wellington region’s most dangerous road,” says Owen.
Lowering the speed limit from 100km/h to 80km/h is part of a broader package of safety improvements planned for the route.
“We aim to make an immediate impact on crash rates by lowering the speed,” says Owen.
“It will only take an additional minute to travel this section of SH58 at 80km/h. That’s a small price to pay for the lives that will be saved.”
Other changes planned for the road include two new roundabouts, a median barrier, road widening and improved access from side roads and driveways.
Mark Owen said that wide consultation took place before deciding to lower the speed limit.
“It’s important to note that Police, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, the Automobile Association, Hutt City Council, Wellington City Council, Porirua City Council, Living Streets Aotearoa and many local residents support the Transport Agency’s decision to lower the speed limit.”
“A lower speed limit gives you time to react in an emergency or recover from a mistake. If the worst happens and you do crash, you’re much more likely to walk away if you’re driving at a lower speed.
AA Wellington District chairman Michael Gross says that improving the safety of SH58 is of vital importance to the Wellington Region.
“It is a critical route which we believe will carry much more traffic in the years ahead, particularly once Transmission Gully opens,” he says.
“Lowering the speeds that people are travelling will mean fewer serious accidents, though the AA believes it is important that current plans for a median barrier, wider shoulders and passing lanes are extended to reduce crash risks even further.”
New signs will be posted and temporary electronic signage will be in place to remind road users of the new speed limit
More information available on the SH58 website.