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The NZ Transport Agency announced yesterday its new speed limits for State Highway 94 from the Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound.
Regional relationships director James Caygill said the agency wanted to prevent people being killed or seriously injured on the steep and challenging section of road.
The change was part of an initiative identifying highways where lower speed limits could make a difference in saving people’s lives, and where communities were calling for change.
Consultation with iwi, the communities and business operators in Milford Sound and Te Anau, residents along the route, road users and stakeholders started about 18 months ago.
Between 2009 and 2018 there were 76 crashes between the eastern entrance of the Homer Tunnel and Milford Sound.
These claimed three lives and seriously injured eight people.
The recently announced Milford Opportunities Project masterplan also aimed to reduce traffic on the road to improve safety in the remote area.
Mr Caygill said consultation feedback showed broad but not unanimous support for lower speed limits.
"Some of the submitters wanted other measures to improve safety including addressing dangerous driver behaviour, increased police enforcement and providing more safe passing opportunities."
He said there had been other improvements over the past three years, including bridge-widening, safety barriers, and curve signs.
Speed limits from August 11
Homer Tunnel: From eastern approach (1km), western approach (2km) and 1.7km through tunnel: variable 30kmh-60kmh.
Western side of Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound (14km): 80kmh
Milford Sound: Current 30kmh limit extended to east of Deep Basin Access Rd by 500m.