After three days cut off from the rest of the world the only road bridge leading to the very Far North has re-opened.
The Mitimiti Bridge near Cape Reinga re-opened on Saturday, a day ahead of schedule, after approaches to the one-lane bridge were washed away in heavy rain on Wednesday.
Transit New Zealand said the bridge, north of Te Kao, 40km south of Cape Reinga, effectively cut off several communities - and about 500 people - as the bridge is part of State Highway One, the only major road in the isolated area.
Transit's northern operations manager Joseph Flanagan said good weather had helped the construction team to rebuild the embankment a day ahead of schedule.
Originally it had been thought the work would be completed yesterday.
On Friday Transit built a temporary stone crossing across the Mitimiti stream next to the bridge to let people who were previously cut off to have access south via State Highway One.
"This detour also helped speed up the work as it freed us up and we could focus on restoring the embankment and fixing the crack in the bridge itself," Mr Flanagan said.
Transit would now concentrate on repairing slips on State Highway One north of the bridge.
The unsealed portion of the highway - the last 19km from Waitiki Landing to Cape Reinga - is also being graded following the flooding.
That stretch of road is due to be sealed in the next few years.
Website of the Year