Government to raise top speed limit to 110kmh this year

Last updated 13:34 24/08/2017

A 110kmh speed limit on some roads will be in place by the end of the year. Digitally altered photograph.

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Drivers will soon be able to drive 110kmh on selected highways around New Zealand.

Associate Transport Minister Tim Macindoe​ announced the raising of the speed limit on the country's newer motorways on Thursday.

The Tauranga Eastern Link and parts of the Waikato Expressway will be the first roads motorists can travel at 110kmh.

Other "Roads of National Significance", the Kapiti Expressway and the southern section of the Christchurch Motorway, will be considered.

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"The faster 110kmh speed limit will only apply to stretches of roads built to a standard where the higher speed limit is both safe and appropriate," the Hamilton West MP said.

"This includes having at least two lanes in each direction, a median barrier, no significant curves and no direct access to neighbouring properties," Macindoe said.  

The Roads of National Significance are the safest in the country, he said, with no fatalities to date.

The changes will be in effect by the end of the year.

The new speed limits come after the Government released a new speed management guide in November 2016, which proposed new rules for lowering speed limits and altering road designs, as well as raising limits in certain circumstances.

The New Zealand Transport Agency is responsible for the 110kmh roads.

It has already identified 155km of highway across Auckland, Tauranga and Waikato able to have an increased speed limit.

In the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, the Tauranga Eastern Link (SH2) and the Cambridge, Rangiriri, Ohinewai, Ngaruawahia and Te Rapa sections of the Waikato Expressway (SH1) will be raised to 110kmh, as will the Longswamp, Huntly and Hamilton sections once complete.

In Auckland, the Tunnel to Lonely Track section of the Northern Motorway (SH1), the Upper Harbour Motorway (SH18), and the Takanini to Bombay section of the Southern Motorway (SH1) will have the new speed limit.

The Kapiti Expressway, the northern section of Christchurch Motorway, and the Transmission Gully motorway north of Wellington will be considered upon completion in 2020.

The agency is also reviewing all remaining four-lane motorways and expressways across country to identify what work, if any, would be required for them to become 110kmh roads.

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