The highest permissible speed in NSW is currently 110km/h, but debate over whether or not this limit is now ‘out of date’ has increased in recent years.
NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay appears to be encouraging that debate, calling for a discussion on the state’s speed limits during an address to parliament.
“A conversation should be had in relation to road speed limits - with the amount of work being done on constructing good roads, perhaps an increase in the speed limit should be looked at by the Centre for Road Safety,” Mr Gay said.
"I think that in the future we need to look at perhaps increasing speed limits by 5km or 10km per hour, if that is safe, on roads that are built to a certain standard.”
Despite earlier saying that the Hume Highway and Pacific Highway would perhaps be suitable for a 120km/h limit, Mr Gay told parliament “I cannot think of [a road] that meets that standard at the moment."
Mr Gay reignited the debate during a recent visit to Coffs Harbour, where a new section of the Pacific Highway was opened to motorists with a 110km/h limit.
The Minister said only sections of road meeting ‘motorway’ conditions (such as exits instead of intersections) would be considered at this stage, and that the 120km/h limit would only apply in dry weather conditions.
The Pacific Highway is currently on-track to meet a deadline of 2020 for its complete duplication, with both the NSW and Federal Governments allocating significant funding in recent budgets.
The Hume Highway duplication was completed last year, with motorists now able to drive from Sydney to Melbourne using at least four continuous lanes and without stopping.
Mr Gay’s suggestions have been met with mixed reactions however, with the NSW Injury Risk Management Research Centre, the NRMA, and the Doctors For A Safe Pacific Highway group all questioning the idea.
The NT Government says the trial has been successful to date since its commencement in February.