NT gets permanent open speed limit

NT’s unlimited speed trial gets the nod, and a 60km extension

NT gets permanent open speed limit
The open speed limit on Stuart Highway will apply for a 336km section


Heavy vehicles travelling on the Stuart Highway in the NT may have to get used to being overtaken by smaller cars. Chief minister Adam Giles and transport minister Peter Chandler have confirmed a 336 km stretch of the road – between Alice Springs and the Ali Curung rail overpass – will have a permanently open speed limit.

It follows a 16-month trial of open speed limits across two sections of the road, totalling 276km.

Giles says the trial showed drivers took great responsibility for safety.

"The traffic counter data shows there was only a small increase in driver speed in the trial sections, with 85 per cent of drivers travelling between 133 and 139 kilometres an hour," he says.

"The survey results indicate most drivers are driving to the conditions and believe the upgrades have improved the safety of the road."

There were 11 crashes recorded during the trial, but no fatalities and no indication of speed as a causal factor, he says.

There was only one "serious injury" recorded as a result of the crashes, and this incident was deemed to be related to alcohol and non-use of a seatbelt.

Chandler says the government will upgrade the 60km section connecting the two trial sections before its speed limit is lifted.

The $2.5 million project will start this month and include clearing trees away from the edge of the highway, widening curves, and upgrading guard rails, stock fencing, line marking, reflectors and signage.

Chandler says the open speed limit is evidence of the government fulfilling its pledge to give more responsibility to people to behave safely.

"The NT has a unique road network with long distances between towns and low traffic volume. With the expansion of open speed limit zones, we are putting responsibility on motorists to drive to their own capabilities and to the conditions of the road," he adds.

Heavy vehicles remain limited by local restrictions in the open speed zone, which set the maximum speed at 110 kmh.

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