Underpass symbol of community co-operation

Clyde was a ''discreet little community'' but when people there got something ''between their teeth, they can make things happen''.

So said Clyde Primary School principal Doug White, one of many key people who have supported the campaign to make the Clyde underpass a reality, after the grand opening yesterday.

''I think there is a generation of people that will be seeing this as an asset in the future,'' he said.

Mr White made a submission to the Central Otago District Council's long-term plan about the underpass.

Parent Janine Nevill, who also made a submission on the council's long-term plan, with 723 signatures from residents and rail trail users, said it was ''really exciting'' to see the project come to fruition. She was ''just pleased that it's all finally done'' and it was a real ''team effort''.

Eight years ago people and the council were talking about a possible underpass ''but we needed to get together and do something about it'', she said.

More than 350 people turned out for the celebrations, including current and former Clyde school pupils, teachers, parents, councillors, and residents.

Situated at the head of the rail trail terminus next to Springvale Rd, it allows a safe passage beneath State Highway 8 to Albert Dr in Clyde township.

Many groups, including the school and Otago Central Rail Trail Trust, had supported the campaign, after safety concerns about rail users, residents and schoolchildren crossing the busy highway.

The NZ Transport Agency calls the new underpass a subway, and it was officially named the Daphne Hull Subway.

The lane leading into it from Clyde end was also called Daphne Hull Lane, for the former chairwoman and founding member of the rail trail trust, who was a key supporter.

The project cost $500,000. Funding came from the Government, Otago Motor Club Trust, the council and NZ Transport Agency.

The council's infrastructure services manager, Jon Kingsford, Central Otago Mayor Tony Lepper and Vincent Community Board chairwoman and councillor Clair Higginson, addressed the crowd.

Rail trail trust chairwoman Kate Wilson and MP for Waitaki Jacqui Dean also spoke.

Mr Kingsford said it was a ''wonderful piece of engineering'' and a ''long time coming''.

Cr Higginson said the project was a ''really great example of how democracy in a small place works''.

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