Work to begin on Blue Ridge Tunnel

POSTED: 7:26 AM Sep 03 2013   UPDATED: 5:34 PM Sep 03 2013

The first phase of the restoration and eventual reopening of the Blue Ridge Tunnel in Afton, Va. is expected to begin this fall after an appropriation from the state.          

A $749,149 award from the Commonwealth Transportation Board will allow the start of construction of a parking lot near Afton Depot. Phase 1 also will include installation of a drainage system and creation of a roughly 3,400-foot walking trail from Afton Depot to the east entrance of the tunnel, along the railroad bed.          

Allen Hale is president of the Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel Foundation, a public-private agency involved in the project.

He says the tunnel is historic because at 4,264 feet, it was the longest in North America when it was completed in 1858.