Cars speeding along SH8 through Tarras have residents concerned about safety.

The issue of speed limits through Tarras was raised at a recent community meeting, with confusion around speed limits requirements outside schools.

Tarras School, located alongside SH8, has a growing school roll with more families moving into the area.

The speed limit through the township was 80kmh and remained the same outside the school.

Tarras resident Rachelle Haslegrave said the stretch of road was a growing concern.

“The majority of the time most drivers fly through at 100 [kmh] because who’s watching them for that 400m?” Ms Haslegrave said.

A tight 35km corner when coming from the north of town was just outside the 80kmh zoning as well.

When travelling south, the speed limit increased to 100kmh before the SH8 and 8A intersection, towards Wanaka.

Local concerns were raised with the return of tourism and the intersection being a high crash zone.

“Some people are flying down there — and you get some people who are unsure of what direction they’re going,” Ms Haslegrave said.

Community suggestions were for a lower speed limit before the Tarras Hall and past the SH8 and 8A intersection.

A Waka Kotahi spokesperson said Tarras was one of a number of schools in Otago included in the recently released interim speed management plan.A variable 30kmh speed limit was proposed outside/near the Tarras School with an implementation timeframe between 2023-27.

Waka Kotahi principal safety engineer in Otago Roy Johnston confirmed Tarras urban area’s speed review was considered to be included in the 2024-27 National Land Transport Plan.

Central Otago District Council infrastructure Quinton Penniall said consultation would open from November 14 to December 12 for the Draft Interim State Highway Speed Management Plan.

“Section 5 of the Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2022 details speed limits around schools. This sets the maximum speed limit road controlling authorities can implement around schools,” he said.

The new Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2022 came into effect in May 2022.

The rule required road controlling authorities to develop speed management plans, with a three-year approach that aligned with the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) cycle.

“All of Central Otago schools are classed as category 1 with the exception of Poolburn School, which is category 2,” Mr Penniall said.

Category one schools referred to those on state highways with the estimated variability of 30-40kmh speed limits, with 40% introduced by 2024 and 100% by 2027.

Category two was schools on state highways with 60kmh speed limits or lower.

This would will be a permanent or variable speed limit (30kmh to 60kmh) covering the school entrance or related intersection(s) for 300m to make activity around the school safer.

Waka Kotahi would work closely with each school to agree what the appropriate design and operating parameters would be.

An Interim State Highway Speed Management Plan was introduced, as the legislation took effect during the current 2021-24 NLTP period.

Feedback from public consultation across November and December would be taken in consideration in the interim plan.

Once the interim plan becomes certified, Waka Kotahi would implement speed limits during the timeframes proposed in the plan.