Being a penguin in Oamaru Harbor just got a little bit safer.

Located in New Zealand, Oamaru Harbor has been the home to a colony of blue penguins since the early 1990s after they took up residence in a defunct quarry. These tiny little birds that only grow to be a foot tall traversed the same road along the city's waterfront each day, heading to the sea at first light and returning across the busy street at dusk. Despite efforts to steer the birds to safer areas, the penguins proved to be "very habitual" in their routes, Philippa Agnew, a marine biologist who works at the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony, told the Otago Daily Times.

In addition to traffic, human sightseers posed a problem as well. Mayor Gary Kircher explained to NewsHub, "People who are wanting to stop and see them, people who are wanting to actually leave the place, and they've all got to wait for the penguins."

So keep the penguins safe along their preferred route and to minimize traffic congestion, Oamaru Harbory decided to make things safer for the penguins by building an 80-foot-long underpass tunnel, a first for New Zealand.

The construction project began in late September. Power and waterlines that were already along the penguins' route were relocated so the tunnel could be built, and local companies donated materials and labor to the project, making it a community effort.

By Nov. 3, the overpass was open for travel. Lights were set up to help the penguins navigate the tunnel and cameras were placed near the tunnel to monitor its use. The cameras also give us a chance to say "Awww" as the penguins waddle their way to their nests.

Town builds New Zealand's first penguin tunnel
The tiny blue penguins have their own tunnel to protect them from traffic in Oamaru Harbour.