Consultation to begin on raising Kāpiti Expressway speed limits to 110km/h

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) will begin consultation this month on a proposal to raise the speed limits for the Kāpiti Expressway to 110km/h.

Consultation on the change, which will increase from the current 100km/h, will begin on April 22 and last four weeks.

"This is all part of the Coalition Government's agenda to build the infrastructure needed to grow the economy, reduce travel times and increase the productivity of our transport network," Transport Minister Simeon Brown said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Boosting economic growth and productivity is a key part of the Government's plan to rebuild the economy and this proposal supports that outcome by reducing travel times and increasing efficiency for travel in and out of Wellington."

Brown assured the change will be safe for commuters.

"The Mackays to Peka Peka and Peka Peka to Ōtaki Roads of National Significance (RoNS), which make up the Kāpiti Expressway, were started by the previous National Government and were designed and constructed to a high safety standard," he said.

"Since these roads opened, no one has died in a crash.

"In addition to the proven safety benefits of removing heavy traffic out of town centres like Paekākāriki, Paraparaumu, Waikanae, and Ōtaki, these RoNS have made regional freight trips more efficient. They've also enabled local road users to get to where they need to go more quickly and unlocked new opportunities for housing and urban development."

Brown said he was pleased NZTA was also making good progress on the next phase - from Ōtaki to north of Levin.

"I look forward to seeing similar speed limits set once construction is completed in coming years."

However, some nearby sections of State Highway 1 corridor north of Wellington are not being consulted on at this stage. 

While Transmission Gully has been operational since opening in March 2022, there's still some remaining work that needs to be completed before a speed review can begin.

Also, the 3.2km Raumati Straights section of the Kāpiti Expressway, from the northern end of Transmission Gully to south of Poplar Avenue, doesn't yet meet some of the safety requirements to be included in this review. 

Planning work is underway for any improvements. 

Labour Party transport spokesperson Tangi Utikere told Newshub: "Safety and evidence should be at the forefront of any decision to increase speed limits.

"I encourage the community to engage with the consultation process and have their say."