Community consultation on QLDC road speeds by mid-year
Communities will have a chance to have their say on how fast drivers should be allowed to go on local roads midway through this year, so Hāwea Flat residents will not be seeing any speed reductions on what they're saying is a dangerous stretch of road before then.
Kane Road residents say they've been asking for a review of speed limits in the vicinity of two dodgy intersections for years, and their calls for a slow-down were renewed earlier this month after another close-call crash in the area.
However, a legislative change last year has seen a change in the way speed limits are decided around the country.
The Queenstown Lakes District Council is in the process of “technically assessing” the imposed speed limits on its roads, and it expects consultation on this to take place around the middle of the year pending the approval of its elected members, a spokesperson says.
Waka Kotahi's new Land Transport Rule came into effect in May 2022 and means the previously used bylaw process for determining speed limit changes was discontinued – the QLDC had last conducted a speed limit bylaw review in 2019.
Under the new legislation, the QLDC - and every other "Road Controlling Authority" - will develop a three-year Speed Management Plan. The council is currently in the early stages of developing its first plan, to take it from 2024 to 2027.
This means every road's speed limit is up for review - but no changes will be implemented before then.
So, the Hāwea Flat community will have to wait longer for a reduced speed on their 100-kilometre-an-hour Kane Road - something they've been asking for since 2005.
Hāwea flat resident since 2002 Hamish Horsley told Crux in early February the community has rallied together on five occasions to make requests to the council to lower the speed limit.
As an extension to this, the QLDC says it's received five requests for speed reduction on Kane Road since 2018.
Now, with the new technical review, the community will have a chance to share their thoughts for the umpteenth time.
Mr Horseley has told Crux he thinks almost everyone in the community has a story to tell of an accident or near-miss on Kane Road, as the narrow lanes and two blind corners in quick succession make it dangerous to drive on.
In late January, there was an incident where a truck flew off the road, nearly hitting the local presbyterian church. The almost-accident caused a stir of community complaints online.
These online comments are to be included in the technical assessment, as they were forwarded to the review team by Hāwea-based councillor Cody Tucker.
The last time the road was reviewed was in 2019, when QLDC staff travelled to Hāwea Flat to inspect the road. However, this technical assessment did not result in a lowering of the speed limit.
However, at this time multiple urban areas went from 50 kilometres and hour down to 40, as part of the review, including parts of Albert Town, Wānaka, Lake Hāwea, Luggate, Cardrona, Glenorchy, Shotover Country, Lakes Hayes, Quail Rise, and Frankton.
Main image: Another vehicle leaves the bitumen on a stretch of Hāwea Flat road where locals have serious safety concerns.
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