Speed zone backlash hits 80 km/h signs on Sutton Road

Michael Weaver 9 April 2021 38
80 km/h sign on Sutton Road

One of the many 80 km/h speed signs that have been knocked over on Sutton Road. Photo: Zac Hay.

A backlash from motorists has seen a large number of 80 km/h speed signs knocked over along Sutton Road after the speed limit was reduced from 100 km/h by Transport for NSW in September last year.

One motorist who regularly uses Sutton Road, a popular stretch of road between Queanbeyan and the Federal Highway, estimated that more than 80 per cent of the 80 km/h speed signs had been knocked over in the last couple of weeks.

It is unknown who will foot the repair bill to fix the signs since Sutton Road traverses three government areas under the jurisdictions of Queanbeyan-Palerang, the ACT and Yass Valley.

The speed zone was reduced from 100 km/h to 80 km/h by Transport for NSW in September following community concerns and a high casualty rate. The 80 km/h zone extends from Guise Street at Sutton to 300 metres south of the Norton Road turnoff to Wamboin.

A spokesperson for Transport for NSW said it was understandable some members of the community may be impacted by the permanent changes, but the speed reduction would only add about 90 seconds to travel times.

“It is worth noting that journey times are not expected to be substantially greater, with an increase of one minute and 34 seconds travel time through the new 80km/h zone, as motorists will be able to travel at a speed more consistent with the surrounding environment,” the spokesperson said.

Fatal car collision on Sutton Road in 2019

One person died after this head-on collision on Sutton Road in August 2019. Photo: Hume Police District.

Queanbeyan resident Zac Hay uses Sutton Road daily while working in Goulburn and said he was very surprised to see that so many of the speed signs had been knocked down.

“I’m not one to argue about the speed limit on the road because of the number of fatalities and crashes, but I noticed in the last couple of weeks the speed signs have been getting knocked down one by one,” Mr Hay told Region Media.

He also posted his image of the speed signs on the Queanbeyan Notice Board on Facebook, which generated a raft of comments from people saying the reduced speed was unnecessary.

“Thought maybe that the wet weather had loosened them. Glad they got knocked down. Bloody ridiculous, the road is easily a 100 zone,” said one commenter.

“If people stopped crashing at 100 it might have stayed at 100,” countered another.

A spokesperson for Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council also said they had received several complaints regarding the speed limit decrease on Sutton Road, despite not being responsible for the change.

Transport for NSW said it conducted a comprehensive review of the speed zone on Sutton Road from Sutton to the ACT border in accordance with the NSW Speed Zoning Guidelines.

The review recommended reducing the 100 km/h speed zone to 80 km/h due to factors including concerns raised by the community, road function, roadside environment and crash history which was well above the typical rate in the speed zone guidelines.

“Along this length of Sutton Road, 22 crashes were recorded during the latest five years of validated crash data (1 October 2013 to 30 September 2018). These crashes resulted in two fatalities and 14 people injured,” the Transport for NSW spokesperson said.

A further two years of more recent data showed five additional crashes had occurred, resulting in three fatalities and three injuries along Sutton Road.


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Road safety and the reduction of fatal and serious injury crashes was fundamental to Transport’s decision-making process when undertaking the review.

Flexible road safety barriers were also installed on Sutton Road in March last year, while further safety upgrades, including shoulder widening and vehicle activated signage, have also been completed.

“I understand both sides of the story here,” Mr Hay said. “It’s annoying to have the speed limit drop, but you can’t argue with the fact that safety is a greater concern.”


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38 Responses to Speed zone backlash hits 80 km/h signs on Sutton Road
Damian Robins Damian Robins 2:31 pm 13 Apr 21

Road is exponentially worse between Gundaroo and Gunning..., it is still 100kmh.

Michael Mundy Michael Mundy 2:15 pm 13 Apr 21

this was introduced by nsw government after 2 pinheads thought it would be a great idea to enter warp speed whilst entering a town... so in order to stop future captain kirks the speed limit was reduced

Kai Harris Kai Harris 1:51 pm 13 Apr 21

Hahaha.... Speed limit was dropped for revenue raising and nothing else!!! Same reason all the speed camera signs have been taken down.

Need to pay back all these government handouts to people who don’t want to work somehow....

Ben Jones Ben Jones 9:29 am 12 Apr 21

maybe increasing the amount of overtaking lanes so old love doing 60 in a 100 zone can be over taken safely but hey thats expensive

Pete Notso Fatso Pete Notso Fatso 9:12 pm 10 Apr 21

Once upon a time cars were sold on things like “power assisted disc brakes” or “RTS”. Nowadays it’s Apple CarPlay and android auto and a 21” infotainment screen.

Anyone else see a problem?

David Riddel David Riddel 3:11 pm 10 Apr 21

100kmph sign also knocked over.

    Sarah Lowe Sarah Lowe 9:58 am 12 Apr 21

    There is an 80kmph sign attached to the other side of that 100kmph sign, my guess is that they knocked it over because of the 80 attached to it

astro2 astro2 12:34 pm 10 Apr 21

All the armchair ‘experts’ who know more than the real experts about the effects of speed in collisions. Thanks, but I’ll listen to the real experts and the armchair experts can just obey the law and suck it up princesses.. Never heard a reason why they need to speed anyway.

Maureen Lynnette Maureen Lynnette 11:58 am 10 Apr 21

They cut the speed limit on old cooma road for probably 10kms out of town.

The rest of old cooma rd is a disaster waiting to happen. Horrendous speeds ( to make up lost time obviously) and dangerous overtaking on double lines and blind corners.

But the speed camera is doing well on the first half of the road

Lisa LaMaitre Lisa LaMaitre 9:03 am 10 Apr 21

SA Mostran.. was it you? 😂

    SA Mostran SA Mostran 4:48 pm 10 Apr 21

    Lisa LaMaitre LOL! I find the speed reduction disappointing but haven’t resorted to such action.... yet!!!!

Meryl McKerrow Meryl McKerrow 9:58 pm 09 Apr 21

Would love some evidence that those involved in the fatalities and crashes were actually observing the 100km limits. I’ll take a guess.

    Juliet Lautenbach Juliet Lautenbach 11:35 am 10 Apr 21

    Meryl McKerrow reducing the speed limit provides a valuable additional few seconds of reaction time when there is someone behaving like an idiot. It also increases your ability to ‘go bush’ safely to get out of the way of a dangerous driver. Nobody is pretending it’s changing the behaviour of the stupid few but a) it increases the ability of those observing the new speed limit, to avoid a crash and b) it means those getting picked up doing 110+kmph lose their licences immediately, rather than just a few demerit points.

    Meryl McKerrow Meryl McKerrow 11:59 am 10 Apr 21

    Juliet Lautenbach if the rationale for reducing the speed limit is the crashes, and the crashes occur primarily involving vehicles that are not observing the speed limit, changing the speed limit will not change their behaviour and number of crashes, and is based on false logic. There is merit (likely small- I drive it every day and witness the behaviour first hand) that some may think twice about the higher penalty, but the speeds I see would have incurred that at 100 limit anyway.

    Juliet Lautenbach Juliet Lautenbach 10:21 pm 10 Apr 21

    Meryl McKerrow I’m actually agreeing with you regarding those who cause the crashes. What I’m saying is that the slower speed limit gives you - the law-abiding driver - a better chance of avoiding an accident if you’re travelling at 80 than at 100, because you have a shorter stopping distance and a longer reaction time. And the lower speed limit also gives the police and the courts more power to remove dangerous drivers from the road. You don’t risk a prison sentence for being regularly 15kmph over the speed limit - you do for 35kmph over the speed limit though.

Rick Reeks Rick Reeks 9:26 pm 09 Apr 21

What number of deaths on that road???? I can only record one death in the past 20+ years and that was 20 years ago. Absolute rubbish as was the original reduction a few years ago after the road was repaired and upgraded. Yet, we keep electing these people so I suppose it is all our fault.

    Steve Jones Steve Jones 8:15 pm 10 Apr 21

    Richard Watts that was on a straight bit of road........

    Sarah Lowe Sarah Lowe 9:57 am 12 Apr 21

    There have been a couple of deaths at the Sutton end of the rd in the last couple of years. I can think of three off the top of my head right now.

Richard Willcoxson Richard Willcoxson 9:00 pm 09 Apr 21

Cars have improved in terms of safety yet speed limits keep getting reduced.

    Stephen Mee Stephen Mee 9:32 pm 09 Apr 21

    Richard Willcoxson Do you see the problem there...

    Maybe if people were taught to drive, and not taught to pass a test, we might have a greater appreciation of the licence we are given.

    A licence, and the right to drive are not a given.....

    Richard Willcoxson Richard Willcoxson 9:35 pm 09 Apr 21

    Stephen Mee fully agree that the quality of driving has gone down hill. But that includes older drivers as well, not just the young ones coming through

    Paul Monger Paul Monger 7:36 pm 10 Apr 21

    Mind you, there's plenty of older ones who can't either. Watched someone the other day who had 5 attempts to get between the lines, only to give up and walk away with the car straddling two spaces

    Keith Heinrich Keith Heinrich 8:01 pm 10 Apr 21

    Richard Willcoxson its not the cars that’s the problem it’s the drivers.

Barry Howard Barry Howard 8:53 pm 09 Apr 21

Knock them all over

Joshyy D C Lang Joshyy D C Lang 8:45 pm 09 Apr 21

Maybe fix the road 🤦🏼‍♂️💁🏼‍♂️

    Keith Alderson Keith Alderson 9:02 pm 09 Apr 21

    Unfortunately replacing speed signs is cheaper than fixing the road. Even a spray coat fix that lasts less than a week before it falls into the old potholes is expensive.

Sam Yorke Sam Yorke 8:04 pm 09 Apr 21

The same can be said about the barton highway between the Gundaroo dr round about and the radio station being dropped to 80 from 100

    Shane Jasprizza Shane Jasprizza 8:37 pm 09 Apr 21

    Sam, yeah, what changed along that road??? 🤷‍♂️

    Sam Yorke Sam Yorke 8:51 pm 09 Apr 21

    Shane Jasprizza not a thing and tbh the 20 years ive been in Canberra i can’t remember a crash happening in that area besides the round about

Antoinette Hogan Antoinette Hogan 8:02 pm 09 Apr 21

You are going to cause more crashes in this particular spot.my be the government should double lane it from federal hwy to qbn as it it a major road for trucks and cars from surrounding districts . As most users are out of town to Canberra and qbn for work.

Cary Elliot Johnson Cary Elliot Johnson 7:37 pm 09 Apr 21

Rubbish. They were cut due to the lack of will to keep the road in good maintenance. Been driving that road on and off for 30 years, watched the steady decline in quality run parallel to speed limits.

Luke Reeves Luke Reeves 7:27 pm 09 Apr 21

Improve the road and keep it at 100. We have some of the slowest speed limits in the world. NSW government would rather profit off the road than spend on it. There's been work going on for months and it honestly looks like SFA has been done, each time I've gone through at different times of day, workers are sitting down🤷‍♂️. Surely it's not all day smoko. More interested in making congestion zones than safe roads.

As it is there's always one selfish person who sits well under the speed limit. Sutton road should have more capacity.

Peter Major Peter Major 6:55 pm 09 Apr 21

Get rid of the roos, same as Hindmarsh drive, 90% of crashes were animal strikes. Even the failed revenue raises on the poles proved that.

    Marilyn Starick Marilyn Starick 7:03 pm 09 Apr 21

    Peter Major what damn crashes. Friggin ridiculous. Just makes more impatient drivers.

    Kel Spnce Kel Spnce 8:03 pm 09 Apr 21

    Peter Major and how do you propose they do that?

John Canevski John Canevski 6:49 pm 09 Apr 21

The limit was reduced for revenue raising only

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