The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has scheduled a citizen information meeting regarding the proposed project of constructing a 26-mile recreational scenic trail along the former Chesapeake & Ohio Craig Valley Branch railbed between Last Lock Park near Eagle Rock in Botetourt County and Craig County High School near New Castle in Craig County.
The meetings will take place Wednesday, Sept. 20, from 4-6 p.m. at Eagle Rock Elementary School and Thursday, Sept. 21, from 4-6 p.m. at Craig County High School in New Castle.
In a recent legal advertisement, VDOT explains the trail will be used for walking, running, biking, and horseback riding, is anticipated to be approximately 10-foot wide and mostly gravel. It will follow the former railbed and some low-volume secondary roads and consist of “share the road/trail” sections which will permit the use of motorized vehicles as well as sections of non-motorized use.
County Assistant Administrator Jon Lanford said in a recent email that “VDOT has flown the corridor and completed ortho(photo) survey.” He explained that, in certain areas, a required “topo(graphic) survey” has been ordered.
Eight existing bridges along the former railbed will be modified to accommodate trail use. The meetings will be held in an “open-house” format and VDOT representatives will be present to answer questions. The same information will be presented at both meetings.
“The meeting will be an opportunity for citizens to talk with us directly and to also give feedback to us on our comment form at the meeting or via an online survey that will be posted the day of the first meeting,” VDOT Communications Specialist Jen Ward said in a recent email. “In addition, we will be particularly interested in hearing feedback about proposed trailheads along the trail.”
Citizens may review the conceptual plans and project information at the meeting or after at VDOT’s Salem District Office located at 731 Harrison Avenue in Salem, or by calling 540-387-5353, 800-367-7623, or TTY/TDD 711. VDOT asks to please call ahead to ensure the availability of appropriate personnel to answer your questions.
Additionally, citizens may submit written or oral comments at the meetings or may send them to Project Manager Kelly Dunn at the Salem office or emailing CBST@vdot.virginia.gov by Oct. 1. VDOT requests that the subject heading should contain “Craig Botetourt Scenic Trail Comment.” An online survey will be available at www.virginiadot.org/cbst beginning September 20, the day of the first meeting, for citizens to share their comments about the project.
In case of inclement weather or other issues, the meeting in Eagle Rock will be held September 27 and the meeting in New Castle will be held September 28 at the same times and locations.
~ Fincastle Herald staff report