The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will conduct a planning study to assess the feasibility of constructing a shared use pedestrian and bicycle path along the Eastern Shore Railroad’s right of way in Accomack and Northampton Counties. The study area also includes the railroad right of way in the Towns of Hallwood, Bloxom, Parksley, Onley, Melfa, Keller, and Painter in Accomack County and Exmore, Nassawadox, Eastville, Cheriton and Cape Charles in Northampton County.
In December of 2019, both the Accomack and Northampton Boards of Supervisors passed resolutions of support approving the conversion and development of 49.1 miles of railroad corridor from Cape Charles to Hallwood for a rail to trail project.
“As owners of the existing rail corridor we are excited to work with VDOT to study the implementation of a trail to provide healthy living to citizens and visitors on the Eastern Shore” said DonaldHart , Chairman of the Accomack-Northampton District Commission.
The VDOT study will conduct the planning and engineering work needed to allow localities to pursue grant funding to develop a shared path along the corridor in phases. The study will recommend an alignment for the path, develop cost estimates, estimate maintenance costs, and provide options for a management structure.
Accomack Residency Manager Chris Isdell said,“VDOT is looking forward to working with our project partners as we study the potential conversion of previously used rail into a trail that promotes safety, healthy living and tourism on Virginia’s beautiful Eastern Shore,”
Public meetings to solicit feedback from residents and Town leadership are planned for this summer. Contingencies are in place if these need to be virtual meetings. An online survey to get feedback about the project will be sent out in the coming weeks.
For more information about the proposed improvements and creation of the trail, visit the project website.
For more information about the planning and engineering study contact John Bolecek, VDOT Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Planner at [email protected].
For more information about the Railway’s involvement contact Canonie Atlantic Company General Manager Jim Outland at [email protected].