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Studies

Eastern Shore Rail to Trail Study

Area Maps

Project Photos
Project at a Glance
Begin Date
January 2020

Est Completion Date
Late Fall 2020

Phase
Study

Lengths and Limits
~50 miles between Cape Charles and Hallwood

Locality
Accomack and Northampton

District
Hampton Roads

Contact
Hampton Roads Communications
757-956-3032

About the Study

VDOT initiated the Eastern Shore Rail to Trail Study to assess the feasibility of converting the former Bay Coast Railroad into a shared use path. The abandoned railroad corridor spans Northampton County and Accomack County and travels through the Towns of Hallwood, Bloxom, Parksley, Onley, Melfa, Keller, and Painter in Accomack County and the Towns of Exmore, Nassawadox, Eastville, Cheriton, and Cape Charles in Northampton County. The study area extends approximately 50 miles between the Town of Cape Charles and the Town of Hallwood.

This study will evaluate existing conditions, identify the preferred alignment, develop construction and maintenance cost estimates, and provide options for a management structure. While the shared use path alignment will largely follow the abandoned railroad right of way, the study will identify potential connections into Town and County destinations in the vicinity of the railroad alignment.

The study will garner feedback from state and federal agencies, affected localities, special interest groups, and the general public.

Background

The former Bay Coast Railroad offers 49.1 miles of a primarily flat and straight right of way and presents an opportunity for a shared use path connecting communities, businesses, and State/Federal parks throughout Northampton and Accomack Counties. As the abandoned railroad runs mostly parallel to US Route 13, a VDOT-designated Corridor of Statewide Significance, there is opportunity to reduce conflict points between vehicles and pedestrians and bicyclists on US Route 13 with a parallel shared use path; but more importantly, the shared-use path would improve pedestrian and cyclist mobility, accessibility, and safety by providing a separate, dedicated facility to those more vulnerable users of the state’s transportation infrastructure.

Public Comment Opportunity

VDOT invited public feedback and comments on the value of a shared use path through an online survey which was live from Friday, May 15, 2020 until Friday, June 5, 2020.  Mailed and email statements were also accepted during the same period. 

VDOT recieved tremendous community engagement. We would like to thank the public for providing valuable input into the planning process.

Progress

  • Initiated study in January 2020
  • Held Stakeholder Meetings in February and May 2020
  • SMART SCALE pre-applications for specific segments along the study corridor submitted
  • Field investigation started March 2020

Schedule

Download/View .jpg version of Study Schedule. 

Study Work Group

The Technical Work Group (TWG) and Stakeholder Group members listed below will serve as resources and will be integral to the success of the feasibility study. Each organization will sign an agreement to fulfill specific roles and responsibilities.

Technical Work Group

Stakeholder Group

Meeting Materials

VDOT facilitates stakeholder meetings to provide updates on the study to the identified stakeholders and gather participant feedback. The materials presented at these meeting can be retrieved below.

February 5, 2020 Meeting

Download PDF of Feb. 5, 2020 Meeting Presentation

May 5, 2020 Meeting

Download PDF for May 5, 2020 Stakeholder Update Meeting

June 23, 2020 Meeting

Presentation

Metroquest Survey responses (in .xls format)

5% General Alignment and constraints

Typical Crossings

Typical Sections




Additional Materials: 

Press Release - VDOT to Conduct Rail to Trail Feasibility Study on the Eastern Shore

Interactive Map of Project Area

Resolutions of Support

Northampton County Resolution of Support (in PDF Format)

Accomack County Resolution of Support (in PDF Format)

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Page last modified: Aug. 7, 2020