State plans to streamline speed zones

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By Stephen Moynihan
May 2, 2006

SPEED limit zones will be streamlined and the number of traffic signs increased in a government plan to reduce motorists' confusion.

Transport Minister Peter Batchelor announced the plan following recommendations from a group that advised the Government on speed limits.

Guidelines will be developed for speeds around schools to remain permanently fixed at 40km/h, with a review on speeds through busy shopping strips like Bridge Road and Chapel Street.

The plan will mean changes in rural areas, with only two speed zones instead of three in some circumstances.

On the approach to country towns, the speed limit currently drops from 100km/h to 80km/h and then to 60km/h.

Mr Batchelor said the new guidelines would mean drivers slowed from 100km/h down to 60km/h; instead of an 80km/h speed sign, there would be one advising motorists of a 60km/h speed zone ahead.

Under the plan, speed signs will be installed at intervals of 100 metres to remind motorists of the lower speed limits, and electronic speed signs and advance warning signs will be installed in all school speed zones.

One of the key recommendations was that, when school zones were close to one another, the lower speed zone should include both schools. This would be implemented on a case-by-case basis, Mr Batchelor said.

The Government received more than 200 submissions from the public and key stakeholders, including VicRoads and the police.

"These changes will help motorists identify the speed zones they are travelling in and will help deliver road safety benefits that a reduced speed zone provides," Mr Batchelor said.

All new measures are expected to be phased in over the next 18 months.

■ Replacement of buffer speed zones with advance warning signs.

■ Permanent speed limits of 40km/h within school zones.

■ Repeater signs every 100 (instead of 300) metres to remind motorists.

■ Review and evaluation of speed limit operating hours on shopping strips.

■ More use of electronic signs about road conditions on freeways.