Speed limit changes will be considered by the Kangaroo Island Council this week.
After numerous requests to the Transport Department on behalf of various groups, the council has received a reply from the department that it would consider an island-wide approach to speed limit changes, rather than for any one road.
The council’s asset services manager Steve Watson said among various requests, Island Beach residents had been campaigning for some time for a lower speed limit imposed on their main road, which has the default State limit of 100kmh.
The department’s letter says it would consider a speed limit for all rural sealed roads of 110kmh, 100kmh or 80kmh. For unsealed rural roads it would consider a limit of 60kmh, 80kmh or 100kmh.
Any new limit would apply to all roads in the category.
Mr Watson said the state default speed limit of 100kmh applied to a significant portion of the island’s sealed and unsealed roads.
“There are cases of disparity. For example, the Hog Bay Road from Penneshaw to American River being 100kmh and from American River to Grace James Corner 110kmh being one,” Mr Watson said in his report to the council.
He also referred to a recent decision by the State Government to reduce the speed limit to 100kmh on 45 rural road sections within a 100km radius of Adelaide recently. Those changes did not affect Kangaroo Island.
“Council staff suggests conducting public consultation for a period of no less than 28 days, on blanket changes to the island speed limit, in order to gauge the community’s desires about the Island Beach speed limits,” Mr Watson said.
In his report, Mr Watson said reduced speed limits could “see a decrease” in vehicle incidents, including passenger injuries and a decrease in injuring or killing wildlife.
He said reduced limits might affect business operators both positively and negatively, by reducing the running costs of vehicles but also increasing transport times.
Sapphiretown Island Beach Residents Progress Association president Ian Carey said any reduction in speed limit on the Island Beach Road would be welcome. Many of the side streets have a 50kmh limit.
“Council has really supported us on this. We’d accept 80kmh or 60kmh; anything below 100kmh would be fine.
“They did offer to put a 50m footpath from the shop to the first corner but for the cost, I was willing to use my equipment to clear vegetation for 500m. That’s one of the issues here; the vegetation is too close to the road, for the wildlife and pedestrians.”
Mr Carey said a lower speed limit was also supported by the Island Beach Ratepayers Association.
“Island Beach has many houses now; it’s technically a residential area with 15 houses in less than a kilometre, and a general store and a school bus route.”