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The Ashburton District Council is reviewing speed limits on local roads and has suggested 157 changes already, though it will consult with the public for six weeks from the end of January.
One of the proposed changes is to lower the speed limit in parts of the Lochlea subdivision from 50kmh to 30kmh.
Resident Mark Douglas said he supported the lower speed, which in reality would only add seconds to a trip.
He said some drivers currently sped through the subdivision, while older drivers tended to be slower. "It can be a bit of a nightmare."
Mr Douglas also supported changes to the speed limit on Racecourse Road. He said the stretch between Allens Road and the Methven highway had become more densely populated and included Trott’s Gardens, all of which generated more traffic on the road.
The council last reviewed speed limits five years ago and since then council has received feedback “in the hundreds” about local roads of concern.
Council staff say the proposed changes are pre-empting new Government policy, introducing new 30kmh zones in residential areas like Charlesworth Drive and lowering current 70kmh zones to 60kmh or 50kmh. New restrictions have also been proposed on some 100kmh roads as Ashburton and its rural townships have expanded.
The proposals as they are now would result in a $120,000 cost for new speed limit signs, though the work is more likely to be rolled out over three years.
Many of the proposed changes are on roads on the outskirts of Ashburton and Methven, where more people now live. In Ashburton, the changes would mean Racecourse Road would be 50kmh until just west of Allens Road then 60kmh until about 100m west of Farm Road.
Other streets that could also drop to 30kmh are at Braebrook, Tinwald and Lake Hood.
It is also proposed to change the speed limit near the Maronan Road bridge over the Hinds River from 100kmh to 60kmh. There have been two fatal accidents on the bridge in recent years.
Councillors received the speed limit review paper at their December meeting and while they did not agree with all the proposed changes, they said it should go out for public consultation. The final details, with input from the public, would be hammered out in the consultation process.
Council’s group manager service delivery Neil McCann said the proposals were pre-empting what staff believed were inevitable changes coming from Government and had been informed by local crash data and urban development.
There was no crash data available for Hinds or Chertsey so no proposed changes there, but residents in those rural areas should submit if they had concerns, he said.
Councillor Liz McMillan said the proposed changes would please Mt Somers Springburn School, whose students had been concerned at the 70kmh speed zone near their school. It is proposed to be 50kmh.
Consultation will likely be for the six-week period ending March 8, giving schools around the district time to prepare submissions in what was typically a busy period as the school year got under way.
Cr Lynette Lovett said the proposals were a great starting point. “Staff have done a great job and I think the public will have their say. You have to make a start somewhere.”
Council staff said the planned consultation would run from January 27 to March 8.