Blue Ridge Tunnel to expand parking on the east end

Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 5:03 PM EDT
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NELSON COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Since opening back in November, the Blue Ridge Tunnel has been a popular spot. It’s become so popular that crews are now working to provide more space for even more visitors.

“It’s this 20-year project, but we also had COVID, so people are looking for things to do outside,” Director of Nelson County Parks and Recreation Claire Richardson said.

Since the tunnel opened on November 20, 2020, there have been roughly 50,000 visitors, and the influx of visitors created a bit of a problem.

“We have people parking all over the place, up and down Afton Depot Lane, so we knew that there was a need, and it became more immediate,” Richardson said.

Crews are working to make more room for visitors to the Blue Ridge Tunnel trail by adding additional parking.

Over the next three to four weeks, the eastern side of the tunnel in Afton will be closed, so you’ll want to avoid that area.

“This parking project will allow an additional 25 spots,” Richardson said.

That will create a total of around 37 parking spaces on the east end, which Nelson County Parks and Rec says is a bit more popular.

“The eastern parking lot, the eastern trail also allows for flatter access, and we’ve seen higher visitation on that side despite the number of spaces,” Richardson said.

There are around 25 parking spaces currently on the west end.

“We will be adding interpretive signs for the west because we have them on the east but not the west, so we will be doing that soon, and like I said, addressing parking on the west at some point down the road,” Richardson said.

While the Eastern Trailhead and parking lot will be closed for a few weeks, the west entrance on the Waynesboro side is still open. It’s bit of a longer hike to the tunnel, but well worth it. If that parking lot is full when you visit, parks and rec is asking that you come back another time.

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