Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency

SH3 Napier Road speed review and infrastructure improvements

16 June 2022


Kia ora koutou katoa

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has set new permanent speed limits on State Highway 3 Napier Road, from Palmerston North to Ashhurst. We’re also making good progress on the design of safety improvements to infrastructure between Keith Street and Stoney Creek Road.




A Variable Speed Limit will operate on SH3 Napier Road outside Whakarongo School

New safer speeds

Proposed speed limit changes on SH3 Napier Road were consulted on in April and May this year after our review found the current permanent speed limits were not safe or appropriate for the road. From Thursday 23 June 2022, the new safer speed limits on SH3 Napier Road will be:

  • 80km/h from 20m north of Sutton Place in Palmerston North to 130m east of Stoney Creek Road
  • 60km/h in the Ashhurst township from 350m east of Hacketts Road to 500m south of Cambridge Avenue
  • 80km/h from 500m south of Cambridge Avenue to 160m northwest of State Highway 57

A variable speed zone will also be installed outside Whakarongo School, using electronic speed signs to activate a 60km/h speed limit during peak school traffic times to help keep tamariki and their whānau safe.

See a map of the new speed limits here



We're now proposing an extension of the current Palmerston North urban 50km/h zone

Additional consultation

It is clear that many people think the permanent speed limit should be even lower than 80km/h between Palmerston North and Roberts Line. We will review the speed limit on this stretch of road again once the infrastructure improvements we're currently designing are constructed. The traffic signals will support a 60km/h speed limit.

In addition, we are now consulting on a proposal to extend the current Palmerston North urban 50km/h speed limit further east on SH3 Napier Road past the Bupa Retirement Village entrance. We acknowledge there is a clear change of environment in this section of road and there are vulnerable road users in the area.

See more detail about this proposal on the project webpage and send us any feedback feedback by 5pm Monday 27 June 2022 by emailing us at pn2ashhurst@nzta.govt.nz



Draft detailed designs are coming along for the infrastructure improvements on the route

Infrastructure Improvements

We are making excellent progress on the detailed design of infrastructure improvements on SH3 Napier Road. 

Key features include:

  • Traffic signals at the SH3 Napier Road / Roberts Line intersection (including pedestrian and cycle crossings, and raised safety platforms to manage the speeds vehicles approach at)
  • Improved walking and cycling facilities along SH3 between Keith Street and Roberts Line 
  • Pedestrian refuge islands to help cross SH3 (a crossing point is being designed closer to the Bupa retirement village in addition to the existing one)
  • Stormwater facilities to better capture and treat water running off the road

We are also now designing a widened centre-line from Roberts Line to Stoney Creek Road. Wide centre-lines consist of two lines marked in the centre of the road which provide greater separation for opposing traffic. The separation helps reduce the likelihood of head on crashes.

Construction on the infrastructure improvements is expected to begin next year, subject to funding approval.

Later this month we are starting some geotechnical testing so if you travel the route you may see some groundworks happening. The results of this testing will be used to confirm our designs for the infrastructure improvements. 



More information


Formal consultation on new speed limit proposals is required under the Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits (2017).

For more information on the SH3 Napier Road speed review and infrastructure improvements, contact us at pn2ashhurst@nzta.govt.nz

Visit our website www.nzta.govt.nz/pn2ashhurst

For more information on the speed consultation process go to: www.nzta.govt.nz/safety/what-waka-kotahi-is-doing/nz-road-safety-strategy/speed-and-infrastructure/speed-management/deciding-speed-limits

You can find out more about how we are working with the NZ Police, Ministry of Transport, local government, WorkSafe and others to deliver Road to Zero, New Zealand’s road safety strategy here: www.nzta.govt.nz/safety/nz-road-safety-strategy