A contractor has been selected for Phase I of the rehabilitation and trail project for the Blue Ridge Tunnel, Nelson County officials announced Sept. 19. Fielder’s Choice Enterprises, Inc., from Charlottesville 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 3,400 feet to the East Portal of the 1850s tunnel.
The $749,149 award from the Virginia Department of Trans-portation 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 the procurement process for that project is underway.
Allen Hale, Nelson County Board of Supervisors member and President of the Crozet Tunnel Foundation said he was “thrilled to anticipate the beginning of construction on the Blue Ridge Tunnel Trail after so many years of effort and planning.”
Hale credited the Common-wealth 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 especially the hard work and persistence of the staff of Nelson County in overcoming the many hurdles.”
Work began September 29 and is scheduled to be complete by February.
There is currently no public access to either the west portal or east portal of the Blue Ridge Tunnel, nor the tunnel itself.