Speed limit drop unlikely here

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Consideration is being given to reducing the speed of some unsafe rural roads around the country, but North Otago rural roads are unlikely to be changed, Waitaki District Council assets group manager Neil Jorgensen says.

Most North Otago roads would stay the same if unsafe rural road speed limits were cut to 70km/h.

“Roads in this area aren’t too bad and if they did look at changing the speeds on some roads which seems unlikely, most of our roads are either 100km/h or a slower speed and 70km/h speed limits would only affect a few roads which they deem as unsafe.”

Plenty of rural roads in the area have a 100km/h speed limit, and aren’t dangerous enough to warrant a speed limit drop.

NZTA has released a report, which shows there is little tolerance from drivers to have the speed limit reduced.

Waitaki District Council assets group manager Mr Jorgensen said roads in North Otago were not too bad.

“Waitaki has 1800 kilometres of roads and many of these connect to remote back-country blocks.

“These roads were not designed for a set driving speed as such, but were built so these blocks could be accessed by vehicle.

“This means there are a wide range of speeds that are safe to drive out on our roads.”

Mr Jorgensen said the speed limit on roads in the region varied considerably.

“Some roads have various speed limits and these range from 30km/h on narrow winding sections to 100km/h on wide straight roads.

“We encourage drivers to constantly monitor the conditions and adjust their speed accordingly.

“The safe speed constantly varies depending on the terrain, width, whether it is sealed or unsealed, weather conditions, obstacles (like narrow bridges) and other road users. Once the new speed limit review information is available from NZTA, we will look at against all our rural roads before we can understand its impacts on road safety and before we can discuss further with the Community.

“In the meantime, please drive safely on our roads.”

Mr Jorgensen said North Otago was middle of the range when it came to accidents on rural roads.

“We are similar to most other places, not too bad, but it could be better.”

New Zealand Traffic Institute president Andy Foster said a good way to make roads safer was to invest a large amount of money into them and add median barriers.

Mr Foster said more money needed to be invested in making rural roads safer.

“It doesn’t matter in what part of the country it is, there are unsafe roads and we’d love to see something done about making them safer.”

By Brayden Lindsay

PHOTO: BRAYDEN LINDSAY