Thirteen hundred cars drove through the newly opened State Highway 1 north of Kaikōura yesterday afternoon.
Traffic was backed up for 3km at Clarence heading south and 1km at Hapuku before the opening at 1pm.
Transport Agency spokesperson Tresca Forrester said once the back-log was cleared, traffic ran smoothly until the road closed at 8.30pm that night.
"Motorists have been fantastic, they were really patient and looking at the speeds that came through through the corridor yesterday, everyone was adhering to the speed and taking extra care through the area, we're really pleased with how it went."
Ms Forrester said parts of the road were still being sealed and were down to one lane as work continues over the summer.
Meanwhile, drivers are being urged to take care due to an oil spill on State Highway 60 between Riwaka and Takaka in the Nelson area.