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Members of a trust set up to establish a cycle trail between Wingatui and Dunedin opened the Chain Hills Tunnel to the public to raise funds for the project which has been in the works for about 10 years.
Dunedin Tunnels Trust spokesman Gerard Hyland said about 400 people walked the 8.5km track.
"Everyone has said they love the idea of a cycleway connecting the areas."
He hoped a loan of $500,000 to purchase the Gladstone Rd property, which was on private land, would be raised "sooner rather than later".
"We need to put pressure on the council so they see it should be a priority."
The trail would go from the city, through the former Caversham tunnel, follow the Abbotsford railway line and the former Chain Hills railway tunnel to Wingatui.
The trust was investigating tarsealing much of the track, which while costly, would make it accessible to all.
Tunnel walker Chris Dzikiewicz, of Dunedin, said he supported the project because it offered a safer and more enjoyable place to cycle.
"It was very nice to see the tunnel and by being there it was a way to support the idea of opening it up permanently."
If established, the track would enable cyclists to commute to and from the city in 30 minutes.