Speed limits to reduce on Canterbury State Highway 75

Reduced speed limits will come into force later this year on the notoriously winding State Highway 75, which connects Banks Peninsula to Christchurch.

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According to Waka Kotahi, between 2011 and 2020 there were 747 crashes on the 84km-long highway.

Nine people died and 74 received serious injuries as a result.

Speeds will nearly halve to 60km/h over the hill between Cooptown and Barrys Bay while high crash areas will also drop to 80km/h.

The limit will go down a further 10km/h through the Little River township as well, to 50km/h.

Cooptown resident Jeremy believed there were some places which needed the reduced limits.

“I can highly respect the new limit over the hill road … it makes a lot of sense. But the road from Halswell through to Little River, largely, is a straight road and a safe road at 100km/h,” he said.

He thought Waka Kotahi and the council’s community engagement on the reduced speeds had been poor.

Christchurch City Council transport manager Stephen Wright said the reductions were in line with others introduced across Banks Peninsula last year.

“The safer speeds on these local roads and in rural townships recognises there are more people walking, riding, driving and cycling in these areas, particularly vulnerable school children and the elderly,” he explained.

“They have been received positively by the Banks Peninsula community so far.”

Waka Kotahi spokesperson James Caygill has driven the road at the new speeds and said the time difference compared to the current limit was under five minutes.

“If that small inconvenience of a few minutes will stop people from being killed or seriously injured, then I am all for it.”

The crash rate was unacceptable and current limits were no longer safe for the entire road, he said.

“Speeds have also been lowered on SH6 between Blenheim and Nelson – a similar rural highway corridor – and no one has been killed since they were introduced in December 2020.

“While these positive results are early indicators, the reduction in crashes and serious casualties is very encouraging,” Caygill added.

Four weeks of advertising will give people advance notice of the date the new speed limits apply, which is set to be in late July or early August.

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