It's been three years since the devastating tornadoes that struck our region. Many long-time residents and visitors were affected.
The popular biking destination, the Virginia Creeper Trail, was also hit hard -- it's longest bridge was demolished.
Three years later it's getting ready to reopen, and it's welcome news for all those who use it.
Greg Mackie is getting pumped up, both literally and figuratively, as he gets ready for a ride on the Virginia Creeper Trail. He and his wife Robin are frequent visitors, but what they discovered a couple of years back was devastation. "We were riding along and we ran into some locals. They were asking us if we knew about the detour and the tornado, and of course we had no idea," Greg said.
The trail's longest bridge was gone, with a gravel detour in place. It's taken years to get it back, but the Mackies we never forget what they saw. "When you look at what Mother Nature can do and you think about the people that it affects, it kind of changes where you're at mentally," Mackie says.
But what they'll find now is the new bridge, or trestle, as the old rail line called them. It's over 600 feet long, and just as challenging is its height.
The anniversary of the devastation will be the date of the ribbon cutting to officially open the new structure. "When you've got that type of damage, and then you've got money, funding, people, and everything else, it doesn't always go like you would hope it would. It's going to be cool to get back out there and see something different than what we saw a few years back," Mackie added.
That surprise awaits them as they set out on their journey.
There will be a ribbon cutting for the new trestle on Monday, April 28 at 2 p.m.
The Rails to Trails Conservancy recently announced the Virginia Creeper Trail will be inducted into their hall of fame.