Welcome to the home of the Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel Foundation – a regional public-private partnership comprised of representatives from Albemarle, Augusta, and Nelson Counties and the City of Waynesboro, as well as several organizations and community leaders from throughout the Central Virginia region. The mission of the Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel Foundation is the restoration, preservation, and interpretation of the Blue Ridge Tunnel, a long-abandoned historic railroad tunnel located in Central Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Blue Ridge Tunnel is located at Rockfish Gap, a natural low point on Afton Mountain in Central Virginia’s Blue Ridge. The eastern entrance is in Afton, in Nelson County, and the western entrance is in Augusta County near the City of Waynesboro. Interstate 64, Route 250, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive, the Appalachian Trail, and U.S. Bicycle Route 76 are all located in Rockfish Gap, directly over the historic railroad tunnel.
Originally constructed in the 1850s, this National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark will be professionally restored and carefully transformed into a unique recreational destination for all of Central Virginia. The project master plan calls for a trail through the Blue Ridge Tunnel, with two trailheads providing access from both sides of Afton Mountain, and (ultimately) connections from the Tunnel to adjacent recreational assets such as the Blue Ridge Parkway, Shenandoah National Park, the Appalachian Trail, and U.S. Bicycle Route 76. This regional project will also support various community objectives relating to historic preservation and interpretation; economic development, eco-tourism, and heritage tourism; and the continued establishment of attractive quality-of-life amenities for nearby communities.
The implementation phase is now underway for Phase I of the Blue Ridge Tunnel Project. Nelson County officials have selected and awarded the contract for Phase I of the rehabilitation and trail project to Fielder’s Choice Enterprises, Inc. of Charlottesville, Virginia. Phase I construction 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 1850’s tunnel.
Work began October, 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 is providing funding for Phase I construction. Funding for Phase II has also been awarded and the procurement process for that project is underway.
Access to the Blue Ridge Tunnel Is Prohibited During Construction
Phase 1 of the Blue Ridge Tunnel Project is in progress. 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 reconstruction phases of the tunnel. The construction zone is restricted to Authorized Personnel only. No Trespassing signs have been posted in the Phase 1 construction zone and have also been posted in the overall Blue Ridge Tunnel Project area, including Nelson and Augusta counties. Violators are subject to prosecution.