Lovingston / Afton
Nelson County, Virginia
Press Release via Nelson County Tourism & Economic Development Office
Nelson County officials announced that a contractor has been selected for Phase I of the rehabilitation and trail project for the Blue Ridge Tunnel. Fielder’s Choice Enterprises, Inc. from Charlottesville, Virginia, was awarded the contract. Phase I encompasses the parking area and trailhead near the old Afton Depot and the construction of a pedestrian and bicycle trail along the original rail bed for approximately 3400 feet to the East Portal of the 1850s tunnel.
Work will begin September 29, 2014 and is scheduled to be completed by February 2015. The $749,149 award from the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Commonwealth Transportation Board through the “Transportation Alternatives” competitive grant program provides funding for Phase I construction. Funding for Phase II has also been awarded, and plans for that phase are being finalized with the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Since 2001, the County of Nelson has worked with federal, state and local partners to secure funding and support for the project. Allen Hale, Nelson County Board of Supervisor member and President of the Crozet Tunnel Foundation says, “I am thrilled to anticipate the beginning of construction on the Blue Ridge Tunnel Trail after so many years of effort and planning. Nelson County is appreciative of the continuing financial support of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, the Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel Foundation, our local government partners in the region, and individuals on both sides of the Blue Ridge Mountains. And, I especially want to recognize the hard work and persistence of the staff of Nelson County in overcoming the many hurdles along the way to bring this project to fruition.”
For the purposes of ensuring safety and eliminating liability, there is currently no public access to either the west portal or east portal (including no access into the Blue Ridge Tunnel itself) during the construction phases of the tunnel.