The NSW Roads Minister, Duncan Gay, has said current speed limits don’t reflect the latest automotive standards, and is seeking a speed limit increase along the Pacific and Hume Highways, from 110km/h to 120km/h on dry days.
He has ordered Roads and Maritime Services to cost remediation works on both the highways which would mandate grade-separated intersections and crossroads.
“We’re okay at 110km/h but when you’ve got crossroads coming in on most of those roads … that’s a problem,” Mr Gay told Fairfax Media. “The best way I can look at raising the speed limits in place is to put a proper road in to allow that happen … I’m awaiting the results of those costings shortly.”
Following an 18-month trial which allowed motorists to choose their own speed along a 276-kilometre section of the Stuart Highway, the government there said the number of accidents had been reduced. It has confirmed a new 60-kilometre extension that will stretch the de-restricted zone to 336 kilometres between Alice Springs and the Ali Curung rail overpass, and it will also spend several million dollars upgrading the highway to suit higher speeds.
Some believe that clearing trees away from the edge of the highway, widening curves and improving the marking and signage not only reduces accidents, but helps eliminates fatigue.
Countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Denmark record lower annual road traffic deaths than Australia despite featuring speed limits of 130km/h or higher.