A light at the end of the Axedale tunnel

THE O’Keefe Rail Trail development is on the right track.

A tunnel being built underneath the Mclvor Highway in Axedale is nearly complete and is scheduled to open in the coming weeks.

Pedestrians and cyclists will be able to follow the trail along the river reserve and under the highway to the new bridge, which has previously been isolated.

Leadsun Australia sales engineer Matt Pollard, who has been on site for two days installing solar lights in the tunnel, said work was progressing well.

“From what I can see of the tunnel I would say it is at least 80 per cent finished. The lighting has been done in a couple of days. It is just cosmetic work left.”

The tunnel forms part of the project to develop the O’Keefe Rail Trail to Heathcote.

Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail president Garry Long said the trail will be “terrific”.

“It will be a great asset for Bendigo, Axedale and Heathcote, and will attract visitors to the region” he said.

“It will also be an asset the locals can use to improve their health, as an exercise area and a place to go on weekends.

“There was a lot of work done behind the scenes but when that was in place they were able to go quite quickly."

Axedale Primary School teacher Steve Christensen said the school is keen to get involved with the project and decorate the tunnel with murals.

“We will make murals at the school as part of a community project and then the plan is to take them down and put them outside," he said.

“The school is really excited about the tunnel as a lot of kids ride their bikes to school. It will be good as we won’t have to cross at the side of the highway, we can go through the tunnel and cross that way.

“We will definitely use it a lot.”

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