The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has officially opened the two-lane Taipā Bridge in Northland to traffic.

While the bridge has been open since October, the opening ceremony marks its official handover.

The ceremony was attended by Associate Transport Minister Shane Jones, along with locals, business and NZTA representatives.

The 107m bridge involved a NZD19m ($12.2m) investment. It features two traffic lanes with a 2.5m shared path for walking and cycling.

Waka Kotahi NZTA project delivery senior manager Andrew Thackwray said: “It’s a great day for Taipā and the project team.

“We’ve worked hard to complete construction ahead of schedule, so the new bridge is open for the busy summer period. We know how the town’s population increases in summer and how critical this period is to the local economy.”

The bridge also features the waka tauihu (prow) and taurapa (stern) end panels of a seafaring waka, which are present on both ends.

This signifies Taipā as the Polynesian explorer Kupe’s first New Zealand landing place.

Thackwray added: “It was really important that we worked closely with local hapu to acknowledge Taipā’s rich history, the significance of its river and estuary and the role of the bridge in the town’s future.”

Last month, NZ’s Wellington City Council announced the opening of the new Hutt Road pedestrian and cycle paths, as well as a bridge over the Kaiwharawhara Stream.

In August, the NZTA, KiwiRail and the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) alliance announced that the Kaikōura earthquake recovery transport project had entered the final phase.