Speed restriction considered

SHARE

A speed reduction for Burkes Pass township is being considered by the NZ Transport Agency.

The Mackenzie District Council and residents have been calling for a speed review for some time.

Jim Harland, NZTA director of regional relationships, said the agency had recently held further discussions with residents, council, the police and local businesses.

“We agree that the current limit is not safe. We are proposing to reduce it from 80kmh to 60kmh, to improve safety, especially for the pedestrians who cross the highway.”

Burkes Pass has commercial activities on both sides of the road, and is a popular stopping point for tourists travelling on State Highway 8, Mr Harland said.

“Many people stop to visit the historic church, shops or to make use of the public toilets. With the township located on a curve in the road, sight-lines are reduced for both pedestrians and drivers pulling on to the highway.”

There was a call by some residents to reduce the speed even further, to 50kmh. While this was considered by the NZTA, it was not deemed appropriate, Mr Harland said.

“The roadside environment with relatively low levels of commercial development and the approach into Burkes Pass does not currently support reducing the speed lower than 60kmh.

“Speed limits need to relate to the road environment so that drivers slow down as they perceive the situation has changed.”

Formal public consultation started on Monday and runs until November 4.

Speed limits through Tekapo are also being reviewed although it has been complicated by the rapid growth of the town.

The NZTA said it was gathering additional technical information, including data on the volume and speed of traffic in the township, as well as the location and crossing behaviour of pedestrian activity.