Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Hawke’s Bay opposes SH5 speed reduction

Hawke’s Bay Council has requested Waka Kotahi undertake a review of its decision to reduce the speed limit on a 76km stretch of State Highway 5 between Napier and Taupō.

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Transport Committee is opposed to the Transport Agency’s decision to reduce the speed limit from 100km to 80km.

“We believe that the decision was predetermined, and did not fully take into account the thousands of submissions against the proposal,” the Committee said in a statement today.

“We, as leaders, demand a fair share of Crown investment. We need to be true to the whole of system approach, and need to look broader than safety and to the wider impacts on the community. We agree there are issues on our State Highway 5, but that these issues will not be solved solely through a reduction in speed.

“Auckland gets the holiday highways and a $16B light rail project, Wellington (nearly) gets Transmission Gully, Waikato has the bypass, Bay of Plenty has the Eastern Arterial, Manawatu gets a gorge replacement. We get nothing but a speed reduction.”

The Committee said State Highway 5 was a “lifeline” for the region and its transport system.

“It is as important to us as the Auckland Harbour Bridge is to Auckland. It is vital to our competitiveness as a region, not least for the Port of Napier.”

“We find there is a lack of strategic management of SH5, and the focus has been solely through the speed lens, without taking adequate consideration of the flow on and broader social and economic effects.

“We appreciate that Waka Kotahi is in a difficult position here. It is under direction from the Government to reduce death and serious injuries without adequate resource backing from the Crown and that is where the battle lies.

“The question we are discussing is not about safety but about method. If this is meant to be a whole of system approach, then this approach is lacking. We as a region deserve better. We are demanding a commitment to investment in the SH5 corridor that will enable the 100km to be reinstated without safety concerns for our communities, or lives being put at risk,” the Committee said.

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