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Boy-racers and fire risks prompt change to road rules

Emma Turton
Summit Road
The speed limit for the narrow Summit Rd in the Port Hills could be lowered.  Creative Commons

The Port Hills fires raised concerns about cars driving recklessly along the narrow road from Summit Rd to Gebbies Pass Rd.

In February 2017, more than 16,000 hectares of the Port Hills were destroyed by fire.

This March, the Christchurch City Council considered restricting public access to the road from 10pm to 5am, on select days of the week. However, residents were unhappy with this decision, as it placed a curfew on access to their homes.

A proposal from the Infrastructure, Transport and Environment Committee recommended the speed limit be lowered to improve public safety. 

The proposal suggested a change in the speed limits of 100kmh and 70kmh in certain areas to a blanket limit of 60kmh.

City councillor Mike Davidson supported the proposal, saying the road was not designed for 100kmh. 

He was particularly concerned about the how "anti-social driving behaviour" exacerbated the risk of fire.

All it took to start a fire on the hills was a spark from a vehicle on the road, Davidson said.

"We saw how quickly the last fire spread."

City councillor Phil Clearwater said the Summit Rd had a "long history of problems, particularly following the Port Hills fire last year with boy racers misbehaving and causing fire risks".

Roads included in the proposal and speed limit change are Summit Rd, Gebbies Pass Rd, Evans Pass Rd, Mount Pleasant Rd, Broadleaf Ln and Worsleys Rd.