The Shenandoah Valley Rail Trail feasibility study gained the attention of thousands of Virginians, and on Wednesday, the popularity in the project will be revealed.
In collaboration with the Virginia Department of Transportation and Department of Rail and Public Transportation, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation will host a webinar at 7 p.m. Wednesday to share the results of a public survey about the proposed recreational trail spanning from Broadway to Front Royal.
VDOT spokesman Ken Slack said more than 9,000 people responded to the survey between May 17 and June 25.
“That’s the most responses I’ve seen with a study,” he said.
The survey sought to gather input on transforming 48.5 miles of an out-of-service Norfolk Southern rail corridor into a multiuse linear park. The rail trail covers the northern end of Rockingham County and goes through Shenandoah County before ending in the central part of Warren County.
Broadway and Front Royal will be the two endpoints for the trail, which will also pass through Timberville, Mount Jackson, Edinburg, Woodstock, Toms Brook and Strasburg.
The study focused on five areas: evaluating existing infrastructure, considering potential trailhead locations and roadway crossings, reviewing impacts to environmental resources, estimating construction costs, and outlining options and a budget for operations and maintenance.
Kelly McClary, director of DCR’s planning and recreation resources division, said the goal of the study is to determine the feasibility of the rail trail.
“We’ve been working on this for the past six to eight months,” she said.
With thousands of responses received, DCR will share the results of the survey during the webinar, which will be included in the department’s report submitted to the chairs of the House of Delegates Committee on Appropriations and Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations by Nov. 1.
McClary said attendees will be given information about what the rail trail will look like throughout the Valley and a summary of the work done so far by the various state departments.
Slack said he is interested to see what people had to say about the proposal during the webinar, which he will be watching.
Julie Buchanan, senior public relations and marketing specialist for DCR, said as of Monday that nearly 150 people signed up for the webinar.
“The response has been good, really good,” she said.
Registration is required to attend the webinar. Those interested can sign up at https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/shen-rail-trail.
McClary said a recording of the webinar will be available on DCR’s website following the conclusion of the event.