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SH5/SH51 Hawke’s Bay speed review project update


We are proposing safer speed limits on part of State Highway 5 and on State Highway 51.


Updated information

Since we launched speed consultation and engagement in April, people have asked how we calculate potential travel time increases on SH5, and what else we are doing to make this road safer. We have extended our consultation period for the speed reviews by four weeks, to June 6, to provide additional information and give everyone more time to share their insights.




What other safety improvements are happening on SH5?

Speed is just one part of improving road safety. If we are to achieve Vision Zero, we need to create a safe transport system; one that recognises humans make mistakes and is designed so that these mistakes do not need to cost us our lives.

Along with reviewing speeds on SH5 and SH51, we expect to invest $16 million into maintenance and safety projects around the Hawke’s Bay region this year.

We are resealing additional parts of State Highway 5 in 2021 and we are currently carrying out maintenance on the Titiokura Summit. This year we have spent an extra $4m on maintaining this corridor, above previously planned levels.

Over the next four months we will be implementing safe system improvements, including $2.5m for side barriers, road markings, signs and rumble lines.

We know that long term planning is vital to SH5, Hawke’s Bay’s critical link north. In Waka Kotahi’s draft Regional Land Transport Plan for 2021-2024, funded through the National Land Transport Programme, Waka Kotahi is seeking funding for a business case for the corridor that would explore up to $100m of safety infrastructure improvements. If approved, we would deliver this work in stages between 2021 and 2027.

Other initiatives that are underway include working with NZ Police, increasing investment on road maintenance and safety, and working with Road Safe Coordinators on a roadside billboard campaign along SH5 – ‘Stay alive on 5.’

We’re applying the safe system approach to ensure infrastructure and speed work together to improve safety. We know there are other changes people want to see. Lowering speeds doesn’t mean we can’t make other changes in future, but it is one of the best things we can do now to prevent people dying and being seriously injured on these roads.



How did Waka Kotahi calculate the travel time increase for the Hawke’s Bay Speed Review?

Since the launch of the Hawke's Bay Speed Review consultation people have raised questions about the likely increase in travel times on SH5, if the proposed lower speeds are in place.

When calculating travel times we have several research-based findings we can apply, which together provide a range of likely impacts on travel time. There’s not a single answer because every person uses the road differently.

That’s why we work with mean speeds which are averages, and these are based on the assumption that people are driving at or below the posted (and proposed) speed limit.

We measure travel time increase in two ways to find out what the range of the estimated increase will be. In our initial consultation we predominantly applied commentary around method one (see below), with some conversation on method two.

The re-calculation applies method one to data from a different source, that is significantly more detailed. We believe that the more detailed data will provide a more accurate representation of what the average person will experience driving the length of the corridor.   

Method 1: the time difference between the current mean speed people are travelling and the proposed speed limit.

This method assumes that where people are currently driving above 80km/h, they will now drive at 80km/h and where they are driving below 80km/h their speed will remain unchanged.

The data we used when we first launched the consultation collected data over a two week period and broke it down into four similar sections. Applying method one to this data showed a very small increase of under a minute.

In our re-calculation of the likely impact on travel times we have used a different data source, a longer period of three months and we broke the corridor length into smaller segments of 2km. The smaller segments better reflect the different typography of the road. Because of this we expected some variation in the outcome.

Our additional analysis does have a different result. The more detailed data suggests the increase in travel time northbound will likely be about 3.5 minutes, and 4 minutes southbound.

Method 2: The time difference between the posted speed limit and proposed speed limit.

Based on the second methodology the increase between the posted speed limit of 100km/h to proposed speed limit of 80km/h the increase would be just over 11 minutes for the entire proposed length of 76km. This method works on the assumption that people are driving at the posted (and proposed) speed limit over the entire length, including the very windy parts, of SH5.

Taking into account these two methods and our re-calculation we believe that people will experience between 4 to 11 minutes increase in journey time on State Highway 5.

Find out more on how we calculate speeds.



How many people should die or be seriously injured on roads each year?

We think zero is the only acceptable number and we’re committed to vision zero where no-one is killed or seriously injured on our roads. We’re working with the NZ Police, Ministry of Transport, local government, WorkSafe and others to make New Zealand’s roads, cycleways and footpaths safer.

Our initial target is a 40 percent reduction by 2030, which would mean reducing annual road deaths to 227 and serious injuries to 1,680. This requires a fundamental shift in how we think about, design, build and use our transport system – and every person using our transport system will have a part to play in this.

The initial action plan includes further investment in roading improvements like median and side safety barriers, improving vehicle safety, a greater focus on road policing and a new approach to speed management, which will see us reviewing speeds on a number of high risk highways around New Zealand.

More than 3,200 people have died in road crashes in New Zealand, and an estimated 23,000 have been seriously injured over the past 10 years. Those are staggering figures. They should horrify us. People dying on our roads is not inevitable. We can collectively make New Zealand’s road safer. 

Find out more about New Zealand’s Road Safety Strategy. 



How to provide feedback on this proposal


Feedback is due by 11pm on Sunday 6 June 2021.

If you have already sent in a form you may resubmit if you wish with the new information provided. Your feedback will count if you want to leave your current submission as is.

Download this submission form


Or, visit our website and provide your feedback online.