Speed limit proposals in doubt with govt change

Changes may be coming to Central Otago’s speed limits. PHOTO: ALLIED PRESS FILES
Changes may be coming to Central Otago’s speed limits. PHOTO: ALLIED PRESS FILES
The Central Otago District Council is looking to make changes to speed limits and road layouts, but it may have been kneecapped by those further up the political chain.

At a council meeting last Wednesday, proposals were put forward, which will go out for consultation, on changes to speed limits around the district and proposals regarding the road network.

This followed the previous government’s Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2022 programme, which required all road controlling authorities to develop and consult on a speed management plan.

It also would change the way speed limits were set around schools.

But last week, the new government released its 100-day plan and one item was dropping blanket speed reductions, which had been introduced by the last government.

It was unclear how far the dropping of the reductions would go, but it may have an impact on council plans.

The council’s proposed changes would reduce the speed limit on over 60 stretches of Central Otago roads.

These include Bannockburn Rd from Bannockburn Bridge to the Cromwell Urban Zone and Clark Rd, Pisa Moorings, which would both be reduced from 100kmh to 80kmh.

St Bathans would also be affected, the speed limit dropping from 100kmh to 50kmh in stretches and from 50kmh to 30kmh in others.

The council policy also proposed variable speed limits around schools in the district, depending on the time of day and distance from the school.

Speaking to The News after the government policy was announced, Maniototo councillor and council roading lead Stu Duncan said he was aware the proposed changes were being considered by the government but was unsure what they would mean for the council’s speed limit proposal.

"At the end of the day, if nothing else, it’s going to bring the consultation out," Cr Duncan said.

This was the risk of moving council policy forward during an election, he said.

"It’s always hard when you get another government [who] change policy."

At the meeting, Cr Tracy Paterson encouraged the public to have their say on the changes.

"I’d really like the public to know that we should be encouraging them to submit on this.

"It would be really great to hear from all people, all parties involved."

Consultation has opened, with a longer consultation period so schools can fully engage with the proposals despite the school holidays.

Submissions will close on February 11.