Phase I of the Blue Ridge Tunnel Project was completed in June 2015. Phase I encompassed construction of a 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.
Nelson County has proposed to VDOT that state/federal grant funding received under the Transportation Alternative(s) Program for Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the Project be consolidated into a revised scope of work to allow both phases to be completed in their entirety. Phase 2 initially was to complete the removal of 2 bulkheads that were installed in the Tunnel in the 1950’s and for a certain amount of Tunnel restoration. Phase 3 was originally planned to complete the Tunnel’s rehabilitation and trail and to construct the western trail and parking lot on the Augusta County side of the project. Nelson County will now proceed on a revised Phase 2 to complete the overall restoration of the Tunnel and the trail through the Tunnel with public advertisement for receipt of sealed bids to be issued late 2015 to early 2016 – with an anticipated six to eight month construction period. Phase 3 will require additional funding for the last project element of a trail and parking lot from the Augusta County side to the West Portal. If additional grant applications are successful, and are fully funded, the overall Blue Ridge Tunnel Project could be completed as early as 2017.
Access to the Blue Ridge Tunnel Is Prohibited During Construction
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.