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Thousands call for lower speed limit plan to be scrapped

A map showing the proposed changes to the speed limit on State Highway 6 between Blenheim and Nelson. Graphic: NZTA.

Thousands of people have signed a petition calling for traffic bosses to scrap plans to lower speed limits.

New Zealand Transport Authority has recommended that the speed limit between Blenheim and Nelson be slashed to 80kmh.

But fed-up motorists have been quick to hit back, calling for the idea to be ditched.

Driver Stephanie Drewery started the online petition last week which has been signed almost 7000 times by Monday afternoon.

She says the speed limit was increased in the first place as cars became safer.

“The New Zealand speed limit has been 100kmh since the early 1980s.

“The upper limit was set at an increased level because the roads were all tar sealed with a centre line and cars had decent suspension air bags.

“Now a majority of mountain roads have road edge barriers, passing lanes and wider cut corners,” she says.

NZ Transport Agency director regional relationships Jim Harland wants people to make submissions. Photo: Supplied.
NZ Transport Agency director regional relationships Jim Harland wants people to make submissions. Photo: Supplied.

Following a series of public meetings in Marlborough and Nelson earlier this year, NZTA heard from people who attended that speed limits needed to be cut.

But cutting limits is not the answer, says Stephanie, from Nelson.

“Why are the NZTA and the NZ Police so insistent on reducing speed limits on safer roads being driven with safer cars?

“Adults drive to the conditions,” she says, adding new drivers need more training.

Between 2009 and 2018, 20 people died and 92 were seriously injured in crashes on State Highway 6 between Blenheim and Nelson.

Nineteen of these deaths were on 100km/h stretches of SH6 and 87 people were seriously injured were on the open road/ 100km/ hour sections of SH6.

Cutting the limit would help prevent deaths and serious injuries say NZTA.

NZ Transport Agency director regional relationships Jim Harland has called for those signing the petition to take part in the decision process.

“We would ask the people signing the petition to maintain the 100km hour speed limit on much of SH6 to put in a formal submission on the Blenheim to Nelson SH6 speed review and be part of that process,” he says.

The petition will be considered if it is presented on time.

“The petition will be taken into account if it is presented to the Transport Agency within the consultation period (15 October to 12 November), along with other submissions,” he says.

Public consultation period will be open for four weeks before a final decision is made.

Any changes to the speed limits could be in place by the end of the year.

To add a submission visit nzta.govt.nz/blenheim-nelson-speed-review or pick up a submission form at your local council office or library or call 0800 44 44 49 and the Transport Agency will send you one. Alternatively, Email [email protected]

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