2005-11-19

Billy Connolly Statue for Clyde Tunnel?

Motorists are being asked whether they would like to see a statue of comedian Mr.Billy Connolly at the mouth of Glasgow's 'Clyde Tunnel'. 'The Big Yin' is one of four options being suggested for the Partick exit by the 'Hold Your Breath' organisation, which is holding a vote on its website. The not-for-profit organisation also wants people to choose their favourite colour for lighting up the tunnels. It will test out a range of options starting at dusk on 2005-11-21, Monday. A different colour will be used at the south of the structure on each of the next seven days, and the results can also be viewed on the 'Hold Your Breath' website. The organisation was formed after Partick resident Ms.Kathy Friend decided to try and do something about the 'grim' look of the tunnels, which are used by 65_000 vehicles/day. It took its name from the tradition followed by Glasgow children, who try to hold their breath as they pass under the Clyde. Its first on-line questionnaire -- asking people what they wanted to hear and smell as they pass through the tunnels -- was completed by 3_000 people.
'The whole point from the beginning has been to have something permanent,' said Ms.Friend. 'We have been looking at some designs for lighting but we thought it would be quite good to test things out and let the public see what they think.'
The colours will be on display for a few hours at dusk and dawn, and will be changed at noon each day. Once the responses have been collated the 'Hold Your Breath' design team will come up with proposals for Glasgow City. If the City gives its backing the aim is to have the tunnel lit up by 2006-10 to coincide with 'The Diwali Festival of Light'.
'We would like to close one tunnel to traffic and hold a music event in the middle of that tunnel,' said Ms.Friend. 'After this the whole tunnel lighting installation would be switched on so that the audience see it as they come out of the tunnel.'
This year's consultation event co-incides with 'Radiance', Glasgow's first major festival of light, which runs from 2005-11-25/27. In addition to the lighting scheme, there are also plans to create a sculpture at the west end of the tunnel. 'Hold Your Breath' has put four options on its website, including former Clyde shipyard worker Mr.Connolly -- who used to live in Partick. The other options are an abstract figure representing the river; a tunnel miner, to mark the achievement of those who worked to build the structure; and one which would honour the role of 'real women' in Glasgow's history, dubbed 'Red Skirts on Clydeside'. Facts
  • 'The Clyde Tunnels' are the length of seven football pitches
  • They cost 10.5_million_GBP to build
  • Work started in 1957-07
  • The construction involved a tunnel shield invented 139 years earlier by Mr.Marc Brunel
  • The first tunnel opened in 1963-07, the second in 1964-03
  • The tunnels are used by 65_000 vehicles every day
  • They is 6.3_m below the surface of the river.
'A Big Yin option for tunnel statue', BBC News, 2005/11/19 18:15:16 GMT

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