24 Aug 2023

Waka Kotahi assesses putting up speed limits on expressways north of Wellington

8:32 pm on 24 August 2023
Southern end of the Peka Peka to Otaki Expressway

The southern end of the Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway. Photo: Copyright Mark Coote 2022

Speed limits on expressways north of Wellington could be set to increase, but Transmission Gully will have to wait a bit longer.

Waka Kotahi said it was assessing the possibility of putting speed limits up to 110km/h on the Mackays to Peka Peka, and Peka Peka to Ōtaki expressways.

Director of regional relationships Emma Speight said a review was underway with a decision due early next year.

"The review, along with public consultation, will see if it is appropriate to increase the speed limit on these expressways without compromising driver safety. We can consider increasing the posted speed limit when a road is designed and constructed to modern safety standards," she said.

New higher speed limits can only be considered for roads designed and constructed to the necessary standards and only after comprehensive review and consultation.

Speight said before the new sections of State Highway 1 were built, there were over 1000 crashes on the old highway route between 2008 and 2022. Of these, 10 were fatal, and 55 were serious.

"The number of crashes on the new expressway between Mackays Crossing and Peka Peka has fallen dramatically following its opening in 2017, 166 crashes have been recorded, with no fatal crashes and only seven serious crashes.

"Since the opening of Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway last year, there have only been four minor crashes on the route."

Transmission Gully is also built to the same high safety and operational standards, but no similar review is underway.

Speight said that was because the final parts of the construction of Transmission Gully had not been finished yet.

"There's a lot of work still happening off the edges of the on ramps and off ramps."

Once they had contract completion it was their intention to go through the same process for Transmission Gully, she said.

Waka Kotahi said early indications from crash numbers for Transmission Gully reflected the same improvement in safety.

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