Life in the slow lane about to change

HANNAH MCLEOD
Last updated 05:00 04/03/2014

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The speed limit on the Colac Bay foreshore has been changed - but it is not legal and it is not staying.

It seems a Colac Bay resident may have taken matters into their own hands after the 70kmh speed limit signs on the edge of the town were changed to read 30kmh.

Southland District Council roading asset management engineer Hartley Hare said he did not know the signs had been changed.

"It may be a local taking things into their own hands. I'll follow up on that because it may be something that has been done in another department here, but if not, they are effectively illegal signs."

He would arrange for the signs to be returned to 70kmh as soon as possible.

The speed limit at Colac Bay is reduced from 70kmh to 50kmh over the holiday period, but reverts back at the end of January, he said.

Colac Bay, Woodlands and Limehills communities had called for speed limits in their towns to be reduced, which the council was investigating.

Roads are assigned speed limits based on a rating system which looks at businesses, schools and other developments in the area, as well as road usage, how long and straight the road is and whether there are footpaths.

The council found that the speed limits reviewed at Colac Bay, Woodlands and Limehills were accurate based on their ratings.

While no formal decisions had been made about Colac Bay or Woodlands, the speed limit at Limehills would not be reduced, Mr Hare said.

Colac Bay community development area chairwoman Rowena Tomlin said as long as the speed was reduced over the busy holiday season, the CDA was happy.

Mr Hare said further assessments would be made.

"We're still looking into it, but it may mean we have to take other steps . . . for example look at the speed people are travelling at," he said.

The same would go for Woodlands, and the council would speak to the AA and police to get feedback.

Woodlands community development area chairman Geoffrey Napper said he was "shocked and disappointed" the first investigation did not find the speed limit should be reduced.

"We have people exceeding speed limits, putting kids, pedestrians and locals at risk," he said.

The 70kmh limit was excessive, and the CDA was looking at other options if the council refused to reduce it to 50kmh.

Centrebush and Limehills community development area chairman David Kean said they wanted the speed limit on Beaufort St to be reduced from 80kmh to 50kmh between the Centre Bush garage and the Limehills Community Centre.

Young children were biking to school along that road and it was a particularly busy stretch in the rugby season, with a lot of traffic, he said. "We understand the council's decision, but it is disappointing and frustrating.

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"There have been no accidents that we know of, but a couple of near misses," he said.

Southland road policing manager Senior Sergeant John Pine said there had not been any accidents in Colac Bay, Woodlands or Limehills, and they were not areas that caused concern in terms of speeding.

Mr Hare said the council was always willing to review speed limits, should a community raise concerns.

- The Southland Times

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