Call to reduce speed limit

The Methven Community Board want the speed limit out of Methven reduced.

The Methven Community Board have passed a motion to urge Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) to reduce the speed limit on State Highway 77 west of the town.

Ashburton deputy mayor and Methven resident Liz McMillan said, at Monday’s meeting, the road was becoming dangerous with the newly open Opuke Thermal Pools and a walking track near the road.

‘‘We’ve been talking to NZTA about the speed limit out of town toward the hot pools. It goes straight to 100kmh and now with the hot pools people miss the turnoff to the pools and need to do U-turns, it’s getting quite dangerous,’’ she said.

Frustrated by the red tape involved in dealing with NZTA Cr McMillan decided to launch a petition.

‘‘I’m frustrated that there didn’t seem to be any other way of getting any action,’’ she said.

The petition has had over 430 signatures so far with one comment on the petition saying ‘‘Methven has grown and many people use the walkway and the 100kmh speed is a danger now and not consistent with the developing growth of the town.’’

Cr McMillan said she walked up there quite often and notices what’s happening with the traffic, ‘‘and it’s not pleasant to walk along there with the cars zipping along at 100kmh.’’

Cr McMillan’s petition followed reports Methven resident Mark Harris had contacted NZTA after seeing adverts on TV advertising speed changes, to ask if the stretch of road out of Methven to the racecourse was being reviewed.

He was told by NZTA it wasn’t being considered until at least 2024 as it wasn’t in the budget or had even been brought up.

‘‘There have been a few close calls by cars within the 50kmh area of Methven between Racecourse Avenue and Spaxton Street, as cars don’t slow to 50kmh before entering town. This is unacceptable,’’ Mr Harris said, in a concerned letter to Snowfed.

NZTA maintenance contract manager John Keenan, said in response, the State Highway 77 corridor was up for a speed management review, but realistically it was three to six years away at best.

~ By Daniel Tobin