The Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Roads and Cambridge Section of the Waikato Expressway will both have a 110km/h speed limit from mid-December, which AA Motoring supports.
The new speed, which was announced by NZTA yesterday, will be set in place by December 11, following an extensive consultation process in which the NZ Transport Agency received almost 11,500 submissions from the public and stakeholders.
The AA Motoring Affairs general manager Mike Noon says the AA supports the higher speed limit for both new roads because they have been designed to a much higher safety standard than most other New Zealand roads and so the limits are appropriate.
Motorways and expressways have fewer crashes per kilometre travelled than any other type of road.
They account for 17 per cent of vehicle kilometres travelled but only 3 per cent of fatal and serious crashes, and there hasn't been a fatality on either of the roads set to get the increased speed limit since they opened.
“From a survey undertaken in August 2017, raising the limit to 110km/h on our safest roads was supported by 79 per cent of AA Members,” says Mike.
“New Zealanders expect speed limits that sensibly reflect a road's risk and these are two of the safest roads in the country so it makes sense to raise the speed limit on these roads.”
However, Mike cautions that this is not the case for all of our roads, and some of our older roads currently have limits that are too high and over time speed limits on these less safe roads are likely to reduce.
The two new roads that will have 110km/h limits are multi-lane highways, with a number of safety features including wide shoulders and median barriers to separate oncoming traffic as well as barriers on the left to prevent vehicles running off the road.
The new limits are consistent with speed limits on roads of the same quality in other countries around the world including Australia.
“The AA would also like to remind drivers that speed limits are not a target,” says Mike.
“The speed limit is the maximum speed you can travel in ideal conditions and in some situations you will find that you need to drive significantly slower than the posted speed limit.”
“Because these two roads have at least two lanes in each direction, people should not feel like they have to travel at 110km/h if they are not comfortable at that speed or if the weather or other conditions are poor.
“And if you do want to travel slower than the new limit that is ok too, but keep left so that the right-hand-lane remains free for faster moving traffic.
"Heavy vehicles and cars towing will also continue to be limited to 90km/h so the new limits do not apply to these vehicles.”