NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay has in the past mentioned that the state government would consider a higher speed limit on NSW’s most-travelled highways, and now the government is researching the idea.
The M5 Hume Highway and the M1/F3 Pacific Motorway are the roads most likely to be considered for a higher limit, which would see the current 110km/h limit lifted to 120km/h.
In a ‘softly softly’ approach, the limit would initially be raised on a trial basis and would apply to certain sections of the highway - in dry weather only.
Motoring groups have argued that a higher speed limit would simply bring NSW (or any other Australian state) into line with much of the developed world, with numerous countries setting 120, 130km/h speed limits, or higher, on their main roads.
Mr Gay stressed that no plans are currently in place to raise the speed limit on any NSW highway, and that the government was only considering the idea.
"I went to my department and said ‘what is the situation?’,” Mr Gay said, speaking with the ABC.
“They said 'well Minister, the roads [in Europe] are a lot better than ours in NSW' and I said 'well, get a costing and then we'll make the appraisal'."
The research will include community consultation, including whether NSW residents supported additional road spending to improve roads to facilitate the higher limits.
Meanwhile the successful open speed limit trial in the Northern Territory is set to become permanent, and the NT Government is looking to expand the program.
The 200km section of the Stuart Highway north of Alice Springs that kick-started the trial was later joined by a 70km stretch further up the highway. Now, another 60km will be added.
The NT Government found average speeds in the open limit section increased by just 4km/h since the trial began, with drivers now averaging 138km/h.
“On that section of highway, there have been no fatalities,” NT Transport Minister Peter Chandler said, speaking with Radio 2UE.
“An open speed limit is not giving someone the right to drive like a maniac. People need to take responsibility. They need to drive to the conditions, they need to drive within their limits and the capabilities of their cars.”
Mr Chandler said Territorians had behaved responsibly on the region’s roads, and that seatbelt and drink-driving offences were of much greater concern.
MORE: Criminal History Common Among Repeat High-range Speeders - QUT
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