Speed review after 14 crashes on SH7

The New Zealand Transport Agency says it will be guided by community views on whether to lower the speed limit on State highway 7 between Reefton and Maruia Springs.

The agency has announced a speed review of the road following complaints from Blacks Point people about traffic speeding through the settlement despite a 70kph limit.

Regional councillors this week said a speed reduction over the winding section through Blacks Point might be justified, but challenged the need to review the entire 59km stretch through the Rahu Saddle to the junction.

NZTA director of regional relationships James Caygill said the agency was assessing the whole section to check if speeds were safe for the surrounding environment.

It had not proposed any changes at this point.

"This is because we want to hear feedback from the community and road users on how they feel about the current speeds and whether there are any areas which feel unsafe, or other factors that could be taken into consideration."

NZTA was reviewing the entire corridor, not just the areas that were a high crash risk, because its focus was on preventing fatal and serious injury crashes regardless of where they happened, Mr Caygill said.

There had been 14 serious injury crashes in ten years, and one fatality on the road from Reefton to Springs Junction highway, Mr Caygill said.

"Mistakes can happen while driving at any point, and our approach is to create a safe and forgiving road system where mistakes don't cost the driver, the passengers or other road users their lives."

Regional councillors were concerned that a blanket speed reduction would cause frustration and more crashes for drivers on what was for the most part a "good road".

It would also cause inefficiencies for trucks on an essential supply route, and unnecessary delays for traffic heading to Christchurch, they suggested.

- by Lois Williams, local democracy reporter

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