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New speed limits are being put in place on State Highway 25, until the bridge on SH25A is open. Photo: SUPPLIED/WAKA KOTAHI

New temporary speed reductions on SH25

Temporary speed limits are being introduced on the State Highway 25 road around Coromandel’s coastline, to manage an increase in traffic. 

Over the next six to eight weeks Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency will introduce temporary speed reductions for sections of SH25.

Since the closure of SH25A between Kōpū and Hikuai in late January following severe weather events, traffic has increased on SH25 as travellers use the highway to get to and from the east coast of the peninsula.

“We’ve listened to concerns about the impact of increased traffic travelling at high speeds through local communities, in areas where there are pedestrians and cyclists and near schools/kura and marae,” Waka Kotahi system manager Cara Lauder said. 

“The community is also concerned about the increased risk of crashes and near misses on the narrow sections of road so we’re reducing speeds through the many small communities and along the winding sections along the Thames coast.”

The new speeds will come into force in each location as signage is installed.

“New speeds of 50, 60 and 80 kilometres per hour will be introduced along much of the 54 kilometre route between Thames and Coromandel, and at a number of locations on the east coast, which should make it safer,” Ms Lauder said.

SH25A was the main route to the eastern side of the peninsula, with around 3000 vehicles using it on a daily basis before it was closed.

Waka Kotahi’s traffic data shows an increase of 20 per cent, or around 500 vehicles per day south of Whangamatā, supporting anecdotal evidence of substantial increases along the west coast. 

“Even an increase of 1000 vehicles per day would make a significant impact on the Thames coast, because of the many small communities and narrow winding sections along the coast,” Ms Lauder said.

Currently, speed limits are highly variable on the west coast, with speed limits of 50, 70, 80 and 100 km per hour depending on the location.

Waka Kotahi has worked closely with the Thames-Coromandel District Council to consider the wider impacts of the proposed safer speed limits on the local roading network.

On the east coast two new reduced speed zones are being introduced at Coroglen and Te Rerenga, and existing reduced speed zones will be lowered at Kōpū, Kūaotunu, Wharekaho and Whangamatā.

Additional edge marker posts, cats’ eyes, curve warning signs and road markings will also be installed to make the road safer, particularly at night.

“By making the road safer for everyone, we are minimising the risk and severity of crashes and consequent disruption to traffic, particularly along the narrow and windy sections of the road.

“We are committed to improving road safety and are making these changes to ensure speed limits fit the current use and conditions of the road,” Ms Lauder said.

In addition we are continuing recovery and maintenance work, and scheduling this to minimise impacts on road users, landowners and communities.

The temporary speed reductions will be removed once the bridge reconnecting SH25A is open.