NZ Transport Agency presses ahead with Waikato Expressway speed limit increase to 110km/h

The NZ Transport Agency (Waka Kotahi) has confirmed it will increase the speed limit for the Waikato Expressway between Hampton Downs and Tamahere.

Waka Kotahi said increasing the speed limit on State Highway 1 from 100km/h to 110km/h next month was safe because the road "can support higher travel speeds without compromising safety" and has the backing from the police, iwi and local councils. 

When approached for comment, a police spokesperson referred Newshub to its submission on the increased speed limit proposal. In the submission, police said it supported "the setting of speed limits in alignment with safe system principles and the need for our transport system to be forgiving in the event that a mistake is made, and a crash should occur".

"With these principles in mind, police fully supports the increased speed limit proposed to be enacted on the Waikato Expressway," the submission said.

Waka Kotahi would increase the speed limit from July 13.

David Speirs, the agency's regional relationships director, said the Waikato Expressway was one of New Zealand's best roads.

"The features making it safer for travelling at higher speeds include having at least two lanes in each direction, a central median barrier and no significant curves."

Transport Minister Michael Wood supported the change.

Wood. Photo credit: File

"When completed, people will be able to safely travel a continuous 78km, from Hampton Downs to south of Cambridge, on a median divided four-lane expressway at 110 km/h," he said in a statement.

"The expressway will improve economic growth and productivity through more efficient movement of people and freight, as a result of increased capacity and passing opportunities."

Waka Kotahi consulted on the proposed increase between October and November, with the majority of the nearly 750 submissions supporting the change, Wood said.