To have the Kaikoura coast road and railway re-opened by Christmas, just over a year since the 7.8 earthquake, is a credit to all involved.
The restoration would have seemed to be taking an age to Kaikoura residents and business owners while the town was cut off, then reduced to a terminus of the highway from the south.
But considering the scale of the damage to the road and tracks north of Kaikoura, and the magnitude of the landslips over them, the project is a perfect example of what can be done when work does not have to await interminable resource consents.
Within weeks of the quake Parliament enacted special legislation to make the Resource Management Act less onerous for repairs to infrastructure and restoring Kaikoura's harbour on the uplifted coast.
Essentially, public bodies were allowed to do emergency work and given a longer period before they had to notify the council and apply for retrospective consent.
Farmers and other rural property owners were allowed to do urgent repairs without resource consent. Councils were allowed to proceed under emergency powers to restore the harbours on the north and south sides of the peninsula.
Since the work involved extensive dredging of the raised seabed and the dumping of spoil it could have encountered intense environmental opposition.
But even the Green Party gave the special legislation its votes, co-leader James Shaw saying that while the party had concerns about the environmental impact of activities such as dumping rubble at sea, he had assurances from Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee that ways would be sought to reduce the environmental impact before the emergency powers were used and the impact would be monitored as much as possible.
In the immediate aftermath of a quake of such magnitude, man's environmental impact pales in comparison to the destructive powers of nature. Brownlee noted nature was also remarkably resilient.
Speaking two weeks after the event, he said, "The whales are back, the seals are back, the dolphins are back and we're told the paua are showing early signs of recovery, as is the koura. You'd have to say nature is extremely adaptable in these circumstances."
But the tourists were not back. Almost the only visitors to Kaikoura for the past year have been construction crews.
Now that its road north has been restored, though only in daylight as yet, the town is again an attractive place for travellers to stop and stay a few days on a circuit of the South Island.
The dramatic beauty of its coastal road so close to the waves, and its crayfish and whale watching, should ensure the town quickly regains its prosperity.
The rest of the country might notice an improvement in building capacity now that the Kaikoura repairs are largely completed.
The project is said to have strained the country's concrete supply at its peak. Its completion must be the envy of Christchurch where some roads are still in a poor state.
Kaikoura's highway and railway restorations are evidence of what can happen when the authorities put the Resource Management Act to one side and get on with doing what needs to be done.