The installation of mechanical flood gates will help limit the threat of flooding in Paeroa from the river that runs beside the town.
The gates, built by British company Flood Control International, can be closed across the road leading on to the Criterion Bridge at very short notice - a far-cry from a barrier constructed from various pieces of steel that were very heavy and took 10 to 12 staff up to an hour to build.
The Waikato Regional Council said it had always been touch and go to get it done before the water came through.
The council described the old system as like constructing a Lego-type wall to hold back the floodwaters.
The gates, which cost $1,021,222 to construct, block the gap in stop banks where State Highway 26 runs into the town. Once the gates meet up they are lowered by about 30-40 millimetres to form a perfect seal keeping the water from escaping.
Council Chairman Alan Livingston said without the floodgates and stopbanks, the town could go under metres of water.
"When the Ohinemuri River floods, the gates keep the water from people, buildings, infrastructure and farmland."
He described the gates, which each weigh 7 tonnes, as an incredible piece of engineering.
"I am intrigued to see them in action and how quickly we can get the gates to slide across the road."
The gates are each 10.8m-wide and 2.7m-high.
The regional council said with preparation and practice it would be able to have the gates sealed within 20 minutes of staff arriving.
It said it planned to train staff to guarantee it had competent people available in a flood or storm event to close the gates quickly and safely.
An open day will be held on Sunday, 11 August to demonstrate to the public how the gates work.