The mission of the Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel Foundation is the restoration and preservation of the Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel as a valuable historical asset and recreational destination for both Nelson and Augusta counties in Virginia. The tunnel project will incorporate a trailway through the restored tunnel, accessible from both sides by trail hikers, walkers and bicyclists, linking to existing trail systems.
Constructed between 1850 and 1858, the Blue Ridge Tunnel project was led by the brilliant French Engineer Claudius Crozet (1789-1864). The tunnel was a major engineering feat, employing mostly Irish laborers and African-American slaves simultaneously excavating the tunnel from each end using only hand drills and black powder for a distance of nearly 1 mile (4,273 linear ft.) It was the longest tunnel in America at the time of its completion, and allowed safe Westward expansion from the Eastern part of the United States.
The Blue Ridge Tunnel is located in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains at Rockfish Gap. The eastern entrance is in Afton, in Nelson County, and the western entrance is in Augusta County near Waynesboro. (near Interstate 64, Route 250, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Skyline Drive and the Appalachian Trail.)
With funding from Federal transportation enhancement funds and state grants, a restoration of the tunnel will be undertaken, and parking areas and trails through property easements on each side will be created for public access, with connections to existing trail networks.
The project provides a greenway for trail hikers, walkers and bicyclists while preserving the Blue Ridge Tunnel’s designation in 1976 as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark . It is a valuable attraction for both Nelson and Augusta counties and a tribute to the importance of the railway system in the United States.
The tunnel is ready for restoration and is awaiting additional funding in order to proceed. The initial planning process and design for the trails, parking areas and amenities has been completed, and will be realized upon additional funding and the settlement of easements.
Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel Foundation, P.O. Box 336, Lovingston, VA 22949 434-263-7000
The Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel Foundation is a 501(c)(3) foundation, and tax deductible contributions are gladly accepted.