Delight as SH8 underpass to finally become a reality

A much-anticipated underpass on State Highway 8 at Clyde seems set to be built by the end of June.

Its construction will be the culmination of about eight years of community and interest group campaigning. Some Clyde Primary School pupils have to cross SH8 to get to and from school, and school principal Doug White said the approval for the underpass ''just shows when a community gets together what can be done. It has been a long time coming.''

The underpass would provide a safer route to the Springvale side of SH8 for school pupils, residents and Otago Central Rail Trail users.

Clyde business community representative David Ritchie said it was ''tremendous news for the community and for all those who use the rail trail.

It just brings the rail trail into Clyde, which has been really important for the town''.

Rail trail trust chairwoman Kate Wilson said it was a ''win-win-win'' for all involved.

The underpass would connect Clyde with the rail trail head and boost businesses.

She was grateful for community support, council efforts and the owners of land next to the underpass site.

Central Otago District Council infrastructure services manager Jon Kingsford said designs for the underpass were in their final stages.

It would include ramps on either side of SH8 down to a 3m wide, 2.5m high and 28m long tunnel under the road.

Tendering for the construction contract would begin ''as soon as possible'' and a tender should be awarded in early March, with an aim to begin work in April.

''The condition of MBIE [Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment] funding is that it is completed this financial year [the end of June]. That's our goal.''

The community-preferred underpass option - at the end of the Albert Dr laneway - would be built.

The ministry had provided $177,500 from a national cycle trail maintenance fund for the work.

Mr Kingsford said the underpass was a ''half-million dollar project''.

The Otago Motor Club Trust contributed $30,000 and the remaining amount would be provided by the council and the New Zealand Transport Agency.

Vincent Community Board chairwoman Clair Higginson said those working on the underpass were grateful of advocacy by Otago Central Rail Trail over the past year and to neighbouring landowners for their understanding.

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