Auckland motorways around Waterview Tunnel to be raised to 100kmh
After recent public outcry, a "ludicrous" speed limit on a busy Auckland motorway will be raised to allow for 100kmh.
The New Zealand Transport Agency announced on September 12 that it would backtrack on a reduced maximum speed of 80kmh around the Waterview Tunnel.
The variable speed limit signs on the Northwestern Motorway and State Highway 20 would be increased to allow for 100kmh.
The agency's system design manager Brett Gliddon said in a media release that the agency had been monitoring the operational and safety performance on highways around the tunnel and were taking on customer feedback.
Additional infrastructure would need to be installed on the network and a legal process was underway to allow the agency to implement a 100kmh limit, he said.
Gliddon said the variable signs provided the right balance between safety and keeping traffic flowing smoothly.
"The motorway system around the tunnel and through the central motorway junction is complex with higher traffic volumes and a significant amount of lane changing and the speed limits need to reflect these conditions while also ensuring we keep motorists safe."
"We want to ensure that people's journeys on the motorway are as safe and easy as we can make them."
Speed limits inside the tunnel would remain at 80kmh.
More than 13,950 people had signed a petition to raise much of the SH16 speed limit back up to 100kmh - which is where the limit stood before the multi-billion-dollar project began.
Construction has been completed but an 80kmh speed limit, considered by many to be temporary, was made permanent — a decision drivers of the sleek new road have deemed a "ludicrous" recipe for road rage.
In April, the agency announced that 80kmh would be the permanent speed limit for the 8km stretch of highway between Rosebank Rd and Spaghetti Junction, spanning the Waterview Tunnel's entrance.
Multiple signatories labelled the 80kmh limit "ludicrous", "confusing" and "stupid".
West Auckland driver Saten Sharma signed the petition and said driving 80kmh on the newly-upgraded road "feels like you're not even moving".
"On weekends, the most frustrating thing is it's empty, and you're still doing 80kmh," he said.
"Are we saying our drivers are so unqualified they can't drive close to 100kmh on the motorway?"
The petition to raise the new speed was to be submitted to NZTA if it reached 15,000, posed the question of why a "brand new four lane motorway" could not handle a higher speed limit.