Sandy Myers 540-332-9201
Ken Slack 540-332-9264
June 15, 2016
CTB FUNDS BLUE RIDGE TUNNEL RESTORATION
STAUNTON – The Commonwealth Transportation Board has approved $1.3 million in funding for the Blue Ridge (Crozet) Tunnel restoration through the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). The CTB’s action provides full funding for the project, which includes rehabilitation of the historic train tunnel as well as parking and a walking-and-biking trail to its western portal near Waynesboro.
The TAP funding approved at the board’s meeting on June 14 includes $649,960 for Nelson County and another $649,960 for the city of Waynesboro. These two matching grants cover the project’s second and third phases. A previous TAP grant allowed Nelson County to build a parking area and trail to the eastern portal near the community of Afton.
The Blue Ridge Tunnel opened in 1858 to allow rail access through Afton Mountain. The 4,273-foot passage took nearly nine years to construct and was the longest tunnel in the United States at the time. The Blue Ridge tunnel was taken out of service in 1944. Its restoration and reopening is a unique historic-preservation project that will also provide tourism and recreational opportunities.
The Transportation Alternatives Program is intended to help local sponsors fund community based projects that expand non-motorized travel choices and enhance the transportation experience by improving the cultural, historical and environmental aspects of the transportation infrastructure. The program does not fund traditional roadway projects or provide maintenance for these facilities. Instead it focuses on providing pedestrian and bicycle facilities, community improvements and mitigating the negative impacts of the highway system.