SHARE

I

t has taken about six years, but Luggate will soon have a slower pace on its roads.

The New Zealand Transport Agency has reduced speed limits on either side of the township on State Highway 6 from 70kmh to 50kmh.

The new speed limits will come into effect on Friday, November 13.

South Island director of regional relationships Jim Harland said the decision to reduce speeds was based on information gathered through a consultation process last year as well as its technical review process.

The changes would affect the current speed limit of 70kmh for 450m at the northern, Wanaka side and for 350m on the southern, Cromwell approach.

“No crash resulting in death or serious injury is acceptable, so it’s important we take every opportunity to address the risk,’’ Mr Harland said.

Luggate Community Association chairman Graeme Perkins welcomed the reduction in speed.

It had taken more than six years of communicating with NZTA to get the speed changed, he said.

He questioned why signage from Church Rd into the town had not changed.

That meant potentially drivers coming from Church Rd would still be at 70kmh when they merged with cars driving at 50kmh on the state highway.

‘‘You can’t have someone still sitting at 70kmh and coming on to the main road, and suddenly they are in the 50kmh zone and they don’t know it,’’ Mr Perkins said.

As well as lower limits on the approach to Luggate, the Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) has introduced changes for the town which drops the limit from 50kmh to 40kmh.

This was part of 50kmh-to-40kmh reductions in towns including Albert Town, Lake Hawea, Cardrona, Glenorchy, Shotover Country, Lake Hayes, Quail Rise, Frankton, Kingston, Queenstown and Wanaka.

A council spokeswoman confirmed there were no changes to Church Rd at this stage.

Wanaka Community Board chairman Barry Bruce said the speed reduction had been a process that had been going for some time, and there was extensive community consultation.

‘‘The majority of people expressed a desire to see speed limits reduced, so it is community driven.’’

‘‘As the town has grown I fully understand the need to bring the speed limit down, particularly in the urban areas.’’

He thought most people drove to the speed limit, but bringing the speed down was appropriate.

His personal opinion, not speaking for the community board, was he would have liked to see some of the main arterial roads left at 50kmh.

‘‘But that is purely my personal view.’’

A local resident who did not wish to be named was happy speeds were being lowered, but her home was within the 100kmh zone and she was disappointed that there was no change to the speed past her home.

While the speeds were lower in the town, the 100kmh speed leaving Luggate was not changing.

‘‘Its not going to go to 70kmh past our space.’’

She often witnessed near misses outside her home and was concerned this could become even worse as people sped up as they left the town.

Without a buffer of 70kmh cars would be going from 50kmh straight to 100kmh.

‘‘There was a near miss just the other day, right out the front . . . a car overtook a truck.’’

Her concern was children who walked home from school because the school bus dropped them off in the town — ‘‘a wee kid walking along with their school pack, ambling along the road — there are no footpaths’’.

‘‘People do not slow down for them.’’

A NZTA spokesman confirmed the speed limit for road users leaving Luggate on the Wanaka and Cromwell sides would go from 50kmh to 100kmh, ‘‘which isn’t uncommon in small rural communities’’.