Transportation Tunnels in Virginia

underground coal mines created the largest number of transportation tunnels in Virginia
underground coal mines created the largest number of transportation tunnels in Virginia
Source: Library of Congress, Entrance to a W. Va. coal mine: a "drift" mine (1908)

In the Appalachian Plateau physiographic province, all the underground coal mines constructed tunnels with rail lines to transport miners, equipment, and of course coal. Tourists can walk through the Pocahontas Exhibition Mine today, to get a sense of the experience of traveling underground to the mine face.

Railroads have carved a number of tunnels on the Appalachian Plateau for coal-hauling trains, in order to maintain a track grade that is as flat as possible. There are, for example, three railroad tunnels between St. Paul and Coeburn and three more on the line built by the Norfolk and Western between Bluefield and Norton. The Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Railway blasted multiple tunnels through Dickenson County when it extended its track from Dante to Elkhorn City in 1915.1

the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Railway carved numerous tunnels in order to create a flat grade between Clinchco-Haysi along the McClure River
the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Railway carved numerous tunnels in order to create a flat grade between Clinchco-Haysi along the McClure River
Source: US Geological Survey (USGS), Hayso 1:24,000 topographic quadrangle (1963)

The shortest railroad tunnel in Virginia was the Bee Rock Tunnel along the Middle Fork of the Powell River in Wise County. The Louisville & Nashville Railroad cut it (and nearby Callahan’s Nose tunnel) into the mountainside when it built tracks between the towns of Big Stone Gap and Appalachia.

Ripley's Believe It Or Not briefly identified the 48-foot long Bee Rock Tunnel as the shortest railroad tunnel in the United States. However, in 1902 the Beaver Dam Railroad had cut a 22-foot long tunnel through the Backbone Rock spur of Holston Mountain in Tennessee. That tunnel was needed to connect to the Virginia-Carolina Railroad, which became known as the "Virginia Creeper."

Trains stopped using the track through Bee Rock Tunnel in the mid-1980's. It is now used by the Stone Mountain Trail, with the tunnel on a part known locally as the Roaring Branch Trail.2

in 2018, Virginia tourism officials still highlighted the short length of the Bee Rock Tunnel
in 2018, Virginia tourism officials still highlighted the short length of the Bee Rock Tunnel
Source: Virginia Tourism Corporation, Coal Heritage Trail

the Bee Rock Tunnel, south of Appalachia on the Powell River, was the shortest railroad tunnel in Virginia
the Bee Rock Tunnel, south of Appalachia on the Powell River, was the shortest railroad tunnel in Virginia
Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online

Three railroad tunnels in southwestern Virginia cross the boundary between the Appalachian Plateau and the Valley and Ridge physiographic provinces.

The first railroad tunnel was built through Cumberland Gap by the Knoxville, Cumberland Gap & Louisville Railroad in 1890. The initial Cumberland Gap railroad tunnel collapsed in 1894. The Louisville and Nashville Railroad purchased it, repaired the tunnel again after another collapse in 1896, and used it to haul coke and coal from the Wise County fields to steel mills in the Ohio River valley.3

As part of the speculative expansion of the rail network in the region, another tunnel between Virginia and Kentucky was proposed in the 1890's. The Interstate Tunnel would have used the valley of Callahan Creek to go north from Appalachia through Black Mountain, to connect to rail lines in Letcher County. Most of the required funding was raised and a route with a tunnel was surveyed, but construction never started.4

railroads were built up Callahan Creek north of Appalachia, but no tunnel was blasted through Black Mountain into Kentucky
railroads were built up Callahan Creek north of Appalachia, but no tunnel was blasted through Black Mountain into Kentucky
Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online

The Louisville and Nashville Railroad cut the Hagans Tunnel through Cumberland Mountain in 1930. That created a shorter route from the Wise County coal fields to the Ohio River and to ship Kentucky coal to eastern buyers. In 1958 the railroad abandoned the track between the Hagans Tunnel and Cumberland Gap, putting all traffic through the tunnel.

The Louisville and Nashville Railroad is now part of the CSX Railroad, and today it still moves trains loaded with Kentucky coal through the tunnel to customers east of the Appalachian Plateau. In 1930 the railroad built a switchback to connect to the mainline on the Virginia side of the tunnel. Though trains had to spend an extra 30 minutes moving though the inefficient interchange, the railroad has never found it economically justifiable to upgrade the interchange.

In 2003, during a legal dispute over railroad rates for hauling coal, Duke Power proposed replacing the Hagans Tunnel. The utility proposed a hypothetical Appalachia & Carolina Western Railroad, claiming a redesigned track layout could reduce costs by replacing the existing tunnel and eliminating the switchback. The Surface Transportation Board, a Federal agency, rejected Duke Power's claim and concluded:5

The newly proposed tunnel would be nearly a half-mile longer (8,797 feet rather than 6,247 feet) and would have a significantly steeper grade (1.28% vs. 0.30%)...

In 1947, the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad cut a railroad tunnel through Pine Mountain on the Virginia-Kentucky border in order to get access to a new coal field near Pound. The line connecting Jenkins (Kentucky) and Pound (Virginia) was known as the Meade Subdivision. The railroad's main customer closed its coal loading facility on that track in 1957. The railroad then closed the Pine Mountain tunnel in 1958, after just 11 years of use.

Pine Mountain was composed of sedimentary rock formation. The railroad absorbed high maintenance costs to clear rockfalls from the tunnel. After abandonment, local explorers would climb through the tunnel, and one reported in 2014:6

As a younger lad we used to take a maintenance of way trailer car and push it through the tunnel to the VA side and ride it all the way back to the switchback in Dunham, above Jenkins. What a rush to travel across the old highway 23 on the railroad trestle and look down at the cars going by at night.

Local officials on either side of Pine Mountain are trying to get the Pine Mountain tunnel reopened as part of a trail that might attract tourists.7

the Clinchfield and the Norfolk and Western railroads both tunneled through Sandy Ridge separating the Clinch and McClure rivers, to cross the Eastern Continental Divide
the Clinchfield and the Norfolk and Western railroads both tunneled through Sandy Ridge separating the Clinch and McClure rivers, to cross the Eastern Continental Divide
Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online

Cutting through mountains on the Appalachian Plateau allowed railroad route planners to minimize the challenge of going up and down when crossing ridges. The Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Railway crossed from Kentucky into Virginia at the State Line Tunnel through The Breaks.

However, steam engines burning coal filled those tunnels with steam, smoke and cinders.

In 1888, the Norfolk & Western Railroad and a local mining company built the 3,100-foot Coaldale (Elkhorn) Tunnel through Flat Top Mountain west of Bluefield in West Virginia, offsetting the cost in part by using the coal extracted from the tunnel bore. That tunnel allowed trains to cross its highest point. Even with the tunnel, trains loaded with coal had to climb over 1,000 feet in 22 miles.

Speed was reduced to 7.5 miles per hour in the tunnel, to reduce the smoke generated. The line was electrified in 1915 in order to eliminate the smoke and speed the transport of coal east to the piers at Norfolk. That electrification was used until diesel locmotives replaced coal-fired steam engines in 1959.

Men in the steam engines suffered as their trains passed through poorly-ventilated tunnels. An engineer described the difficulty of just breathing:8

We carried overall jackets which we covered our heads with and ran an air hose up under it which helped; later they put fans on some of the engines, but no one used them because the fan picked up cinders and threw them in your face.

the new Elkhorn Tunnel was ventilated between 1950-1959, until diesel locomotives eliminated the need
the new Elkhorn Tunnel was ventilated between 1950-1959, until diesel locomotives eliminated the need
Source: The Last Churchill-Wentworth Tunnel Ventilator

In 1923, workers on the Virginian Railroad protested the unhealthy conditions of moving trains through tunnels on the line up through Clarks Gap, where the railroad crossed its highest elevation on the way to its wharves in Norfolk. The railroad then electrified the track from Mullens, West Virginia all the way to Roanoke.

That required building a power plant at Narrows on the New River, as well as a catenary line to carry the electricity for the electric "motors." Electrifying the line improved conditions for railway workers taking trains through the 5,176-foot Alleghany Tunnel near Blacksburg, where the Virginian crossed the watershed divide between the New and Roanoke rivers. It is one of two railroad tunnels called the Alleghany Tunnel, and neither one crosses the Allegheny Front.9

Cumberland Gap has a highway tunnel, in addition to a separate railroad tunnel. The railroad tunnel crosses beneath Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee, but the US 25 highway tunnel runs below just Kentucky and Tennessee. Cars driving through the Cumberland Gap Tunnel cross underneath just two states, since the tunnel was constructed west of the tip of Virginia.

In contrast to the railroad tunnels, there is no highway tunnel in Virginia with one portal in the Appalachian Plateau physiographic province and the other in the Valley and Ridge physiographic province.

The highway tunnel at Cumberland Gap opened in 1996. Moving US 25 underground allowed the National Park Service to remove the asphalt pavement and restore the appearance of the historic road trace on the surface through Cumberland Gap.10

the railroad tunnel under Cumberland Gap (black line) goes underneath three states, but the US 25 highway tunnel does not cross underneath Virginia
the railroad tunnel under Cumberland Gap (black line) goes underneath three states, but the US 25 highway tunnel does not cross underneath Virginia
Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online

In the Valley and Ridge physiographic province of Virginia, there is one natural tunnel in Scott County, two natural bridges (too short to be called "tunnels") in Rockbridge County and Lee County, and multiple human-constructed tunnels for railroads.

Two highway tunnels carry I-77 through Bland County, which claims to be "the only county in the United States that is entered and exited by Interstate Tunnels." The East River Mountain Tunnel is located on the Virginia-West Virginia state line. It eliminated the need to drive up and down the mountain via US52, a narrow mountain road with a minimum number of guardrails.

Material excavated from the mountain during construction between 1969-1974 was used to build the embankment for the Laurel Creek bridge. Workers tunneling deep underground encountered springs in the limestone bedrock, and wore rubber coats and boots as if it was raining. Though most tunnel construction involves excavating rock, workers on the East River Mountain Tunnel ran into caves and had to bring in enough concrete to raise the bed of the tunnel by two feet in one spot.

The East River Mountain Tunnel is over one mile in length, and exhaust fumes from vehicles could accumulate quickly. A dozen exhaust fans and another dozen fresh air fans can exchange all the air within the tunnel in two minutes.

The ventilation system was essential in 2016, when a tractor trailer burned in the tunnel and generated massive amounts of smoke. Tunnel managers anticipated a fire only every 20 years, but a second vehicle burned in the East River Mountain tunnel only six months later. A "lesson learned" during the earlier incident was applied, and the fans were used to direct smoke away from the firefighters.

when a tractor trailer burned inside the East River Mountain Tunnel in 2014, the traffic jam lasted for hours
when a tractor trailer burned inside the East River Mountain Tunnel in 2014, the traffic jam lasted for hours
Source: Firehouse, East River Mountain Tunnel Fire

The Big Walker Mountain Tunnel was constructed between 1967-1972. As in the East River Mountain Tunnel, a system of 24 fans with backup generators prevents a buildup of deadly carbon monoxide from exhaust. To date, not vehicles have caught fire in that tunnel.

inside Big Walker Mountain Tunnel (Bland County)
inside Big Walker Mountain Tunnel (Bland County)

exiting Big Walker Mountain Tunnel on the way to Wytheville
exiting Big Walker Mountain Tunnel on the way to Wytheville

Highway engineers who designed the route for I-77 chose to excavate a 300' deep roadcut through Little Walker Mountain, but built the Big Walker Mountain Tunnel to avoid a 500' deep roadcut through Big Walker Mountain. At its deepest point, the I-77 pavement is 800' below the top of the mountain.11

headed south on I-77 into Big Walker Mountain Tunnel (Bland County)
headed south on I-77 into Big Walker Mountain Tunnel (Bland County)

Multiple tunnels were cut through the ridges west of Staunton to maintain as level a grade as possible for railroads.

Mason Tunnel in Bath County
Mason Tunnel in Bath County
Source: New York Public Library, Mason Tunnel on the C. & O. R. R., Virginia

two Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad tunnels were constructed just west of Millboro in Bath County
two Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad tunnels were constructed just west of Millboro in Bath County
Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online

The Coleman Tunnel was cut through a ridge that formed a horseshoe in the Cowpasture River, east of Clifton Forge. That tunnel was eliminated later, when the railroad revised its route slightly.

the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad built Coleman Tunnel, east of Clifton Forge on the Cowpasture River
the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad built Coleman Tunnel, east of Clifton Forge on the Cowpasture River
Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online

re-routing the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad has eliminated the need for Coleman Tunnel
re-routing the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad has eliminated the need for Coleman Tunnel
Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online

The Covington and Ohio Railroad was chartered to build across the Allegheny Front, from Covington to the Ohio River, but the Civil War intervened before any rails were laid. The Virginia Central Railroad and the Covington and Ohio Railroad merged into the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad after the war, and Colis P. Huntington was recruited to fund the extension west to the Ohio River. Within Virginia, that railroad built five and one-half tunnels.

The Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad has its own Alleghany Tunnel, completed in 1870 at the Virginia-West Virginia border. A second tunnel was constructed parallel to it in 1932. The east portal of those tunnels is located within Virginia; the west portals are in West Virginia.12

the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad built its own Alleghany Tunnel on the Virginia-West Virginia border
the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad built its own Alleghany Tunnel on the Virginia-West Virginia border
Source: US Geological Survey (USGS), Lewisburg, VA 1:25,000 topographic quadrangle (1887)

The Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad built five other railroad tunnels between Covington and the Alleghany Tunnel. From east to west, they are the Mud, Moore, Lake, Kelly, and Lewis tunnels, then the eastern portal of the Alleghany Tunnel.

Mud Tunnel, the first railroad tunnel west of Covington, is at the northern tip of Peters Mountain
Mud Tunnel, the first railroad tunnel west of Covington, is at the northern tip of Peters Mountain
Source: US Geological Survey, Callaghan, VA 1:24,000 tpographic quadrangle (1966)

the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad built five tunnels west of Covington, plus the Alleghany Tunnel at the Virginia-West Virginia border
the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad built five tunnels west of Covington, plus the Alleghany Tunnel at the Virginia-West Virginia border
Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online

Lewis Tunnel is the longest, at 3/4 mile in length. In 1989, steam locomotive 765 returned through Lewis tunnel, after hauling a chartered train from White Sulfur Springs resort to Covington. On the return trip, it pulled a string of boxcars to add weight and help control the speed going downhill west of Alleghany Tunnel.

So many cars were added that the train traveled through Lewis Tunnel far slower than planned. The exhaust from the steam cleaned the soot that had been deposited on the roof of the tunnel from over 30 years of diesel locomotives passing through. As hot exhaust swirled through the cab of the locomotive, temperatures rose to 130°F. Visibility dropped to zero, as black diesel soot and oil coated every gauge and covered the two men inside the cab. It was a reminder of what locomotive engineers, firemen, and brakemen experienced for over 80 years as coal-fired steam engines pulled trains through those tunnels.13

Lewis Tunnel was excavated between the Kelly and Alleghany tunnels
Lewis Tunnel was excavated between the Kelly and Alleghany tunnels
Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online

Three Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad tunnels were cut on the railroad's path along the James River between Eagle Rock and the Blue Ridge. One tunnel, located four miles downstream from Eagle Rock, reduced the sharpness of the curve required to follow the river valley.

the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad built a tunnel four miles from Eagle Rock, to minimize the curve required to follow the James River valley
the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad built a tunnel four miles from Eagle Rock, to minimize the curve required to follow the James River valley
Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online

That tunnel was carved through the Conococheague Formation, a limestone deposited in the Cambrian Period over 500 million years ago. At the time, what is now Botetourt County was at the edge of the tectonic plate known as Laurentia. It was south of the equator and rotated about 90° to face south.

the tunnel near Eagle Rock was carved through the Conococheague Formation, limestone that formed over 500 million years ago
the tunnel near Eagle Rock was carved through the Conococheague Formation, limestone that formed over 500 million years ago
Source: Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, Online Mapping Tool

The tunnel at Horseshoe Bend was cut through the Elbrook Formation, another limestone in the Valley and Ridge physiographic province that was deposited in the Cambrian Period. That tunnel eliminated the need to build over three miles of track.

the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad built a tunnel at Horseshoe Bend on the James River, five miles upstream from Buchanan
the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad built a tunnel at Horseshoe Bend on the James River, five miles upstream from Buchanan
Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online

the tunnel at Horseshoe Bend cut through sediments deposited in the Cambrian Period
the tunnel at Horseshoe Bend cut through sediments deposited in the Cambrian Period
Source: Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, Online Mapping Tool

The Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad carved the Wasp Rock tunnel one mile downstream from Buchanan, and about a half-mile east of I-81. It also cut through a wedge of the Elbrook Formation.

the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad built Wasp Rock Tunnel
the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad built Wasp Rock Tunnel
Source: Google Maps

the tunnel at Wasp Rock also cut through the Elbrook Formation
the tunnel at Wasp Rock also cut through the Elbrook Formation
Source: Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, Online Mapping Tool

CSX trains loaded with coal still pass through the Wasp Rock tunnel near Buchanan
CSX trains loaded with coal still pass through the Wasp Rock tunnel near Buchanan
Source: YouTube, CSX Coal EB at Wasp Rock Tunnel (by GcHawkins)

In the Blue Ridge province, four railroad tunnels were cut through the hard volcanic rock by Irish laborers and enslaved men hired from their owners. Claudius Crozet was the engineer who designed the tunnels and managed the project. He hired one contractor to construct the smaller Brooksville and Greenwood tunnels, plus the 100-foot Little Rock tunnel between them.

The contractor that Crozet hired to build the Blue Ridge Tunnel at Afton Mountain was unable to complete the job which he started in 1850. The other tunnel builder took over that year and completed the project in 1858.

Irish immigrants and enslaved men carved the original Blue Ridge Tunnel in 1850-58, allowing trains to pass beneath Rockfish Gap
Irish immigrants and enslaved men carved the original Blue Ridge Tunnel in 1850-58, allowing trains to pass beneath Rockfish Gap
Source: Virginia Department of Transportation, East Portal of the Blue Ridge Tunnel built between 1850 and 1858

The Blue Ridge Tunnel allowed Virginia Central Railroad trains to travel between Charlottesville to Staunton. The Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad "daylighted" the three small tunnels on the eastern side of Rockfish Gap by removing their rock roofs, and a replacement tunnel at Rockfish Gap was built in 1942-1944 to accommodate larger trains. Tracks that initially ran through those three tunnels are now located within three railroad cuts, and the old tunnel is being converted into a hiking trail for tourists.14

a replacement tunnel was constructed in 1942-44 underneath Rockfish Gap, and is still in active use
a replacement tunnel was constructed in 1942-44 underneath Rockfish Gap, and is still in active use
Source: Flickr, Blue Ridge Tunnel 1942-1944 (by "red, white, and black eyes forever")

The one tunnel built for cars on Skyline Drive was cut in 1932 through Mary's Rock, south of Thornton Gap. Careful blasting of nearly 700 feet through the rock avoided scarring the hillside and preserved the natural appearance of the portals, including an intrusion of greenstone (metamorphosed basalt) at the north end. The rock excavated to make the tunnel was used for construction of an overlook on the south end.

Fractures in the metamorphosed granite above the tunnel allowed water to drip inside during the summer, and produced icicles in the winter. The tunnel was lined with concrete in 1958 to reduce the hazard of icicles crashing onto vehicles. In 2016, the lining was repaired and cracks were sealed.15

tunnel at Mary's Rock on Skyline Drive, under construction
tunnel at Mary's Rock on Skyline Drive, under construction
Source: National Park Service, Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive Construction

Mary's Rock tunnel
Mary's Rock tunnel
Source: Eric B. Walker, Flickr

There is just one tunnel on the Virginia portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, built near the crest of the mountains south of Skyline Drive. The Bluff Mountain tunnel is at Milepost 53.1 in Amherst County, east of Natural Bridge.

Elsewhere in Virginia, the National Park Service's landscape architects and highway engineers managed to locate the road in places where cut-and-fill embankments would not create unacceptable visual scars. In North Carolina, scenic and engineering considerations led the Federal agency to build 25 tunnels plus the Linn Cove Viaduct.16

Bluff Mountain tunnel on Blue Ridge Parkway
Bluff Mountain tunnel on Blue Ridge Parkway
Source: National Park Service, Blue Ridge Parkway, Tunnels

Within the Culpeper Basin of the Piedmont physiographic province, there is one transportation tunnel . The AeroTrain tunnel at Dulles International Airport carries passengers between the main terminal and satellite terminals.

Passengers walk and ride the AeroTrain underneath the runways, traveling between the main terminal and the buildings with jetways where airplanes load passengers. The track-based underground system replaced most of the mobile lounges known as People Movers, which used the same tarmac as the airplanes and caused delays. The airport tunnels were built using a combination of the New Austrian Tunneling Method, cut-and-cover, and tunnel boring machine techniques.

High cost was the reason for dropping plans for the planned tunnel and underground Metrorail Silver Line station at Dulles International Airport.

In 2007, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (WMWAA) was given authority to build the Silver Line for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), also known as Metro. Constructing the underground track and station at Dulles International Airport using the New Austrian Tunneling Method and tunnel boring machines was considered. To minimize costs, in 2011 the agency decided to use the less-expensive, more-disruptive cut-and-cover technique. Later, it chose to make the entire station and track above the ground.17

the Silver Line station at Dulles was planned to be underground, but to minimize costs the tunneling was eliminated
the Silver Line station at Dulles was planned to be underground, but to minimize costs the tunneling was eliminated
Source: Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Airports Authority Board Selects Dulles Airport Metro Station Location

Further south in the Piedmont, the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad built the 508-foot Hollins Tunnel west of Lynchburg in 1851-52. Drilling through the ridge underneath what is now Hollins Mill Road allowed the engineers to avoid a sharp bend in Blackwater Creek. The tunnel was used for 130 years. In its last years, the only Norfolk Southern trains which passed through the tunnel were interchanging railcars with the CSX.

The Lynchburg and Durham Railroad carved the Durham Line Street tunnel in 1889 southeast of Lynchburg, underneath Martin Street near Fairview Heights.

the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad cut its tunnel in 1851-52, while the Lynchburg & Durham Railroad built the Durham Line Tunnel in 1889
the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad cut its tunnel in 1851-52, while the Lynchburg & Durham Railroad built the Durham Line Tunnel in 1889
Source: US Geological Survey (USGS), Lynchburg VA 1:25,000 quadrangle (1892)

in 1944, the Norfolk and Western Railroad used the Durham Line Tunnel at the north end of Candler Mountain
in 1944, the Norfolk and Western Railroad used the Durham Line Tunnel at the north end of Candler Mountain
Source: US Geological Survey (USGS), Lynchburg VA 1:62,500 quadrangle (1944)

the Durham Line Tunnel underneath Martin Street is still in active use
the Durham Line Tunnel underneath Martin Street is still in active use
Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online

When the Southern Railway built a new mainline through Lynchburg in 1910, it cut the Rivermont Tunnel for trains to pass through the ridge on the south bank of the James River.

the Southern Railway's Rivermont Tunnel was located about one mile north of the Hollin Mills Tunnel
the Southern Railway's Rivermont Tunnel was located about one mile north of the Hollin Mills Tunnel
Source: US Geological Survey (USGS), Lynchburg VA 1:62,500 quadrangle (1944)

The Norfolk and Western Railroad abandoned the Hollins Mill Road in 1982. After a rails-to-trails conversion, it is now used by hikers and bikers.18

today, hikers/bikers rather than trains use the Hollins Mill Tunnel west of Lynchburg
today, hikers/bikers rather than trains use the Hollins Mill Tunnel west of Lynchburg
Source: Lynchburg Parks and Rec, Hiking and Biking Trails

On the northeastern edge of the Piedmont physiographic province at Tysons, there is one Metrorail tunnel for the Silver Line (in addition to other Metro tunnels on the Coastal Plain). Plans for a longer Tysons tunnel and four underground stations there were dropped in order to minimize construction costs.

On the Coastal Plain, the first transportation tunnel was constructed by the Orange and Alexandria Railroad in Alexandria. The Wilkes Street tunnel opened in 1851, minimizing the grade for trains to reach the wharves along the Potomac River waterfront.

the Wilkes Street tunnel stretched from South Fairfax Street to South St. Asaph Street
the Wilkes Street tunnel stretched from South Fairfax Street to South St. Asaph Street
Source: Library of Congress, Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Alexandria, Independent Cities, Virginia (Sanborn Map Company, November 1907)

the Wilkes Street railroad tunnel in Alexandria connected the waterfront to the main Orange & Alexandria Railroad station
the Wilkes Street railroad tunnel in Alexandria connected the waterfront to the main Orange & Alexandria Railroad station

Tracks were removed in 1975, but the tunnel was kept and still serves as part of a city bikepath. Alexandria refurbished the tunnel in 2007-2008, adding lights and steel reinforcement ribs to support the stone and brick roof and walls.19

the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad ferried railroad cars across the Potomac River, and the Southern Railway carried them south via the Wilkes Street tunnel (highlighted in red)
the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad ferried railroad cars across the Potomac River, and the Southern Railway carried them south via the Wilkes Street tunnel (highlighted in red)
Source: Library of Congress, Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Alexandria, Independent Cities, Virginia (Sanborn Map Company, November 1907)

At Richmond, the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad cut the 3,927-foot long Church Hill Tunnel through a clay ridge in 1871-1873. The hill was named for St. John's Church, where Patrick Henry had delivered his stirring "Give me liberty or give me death" speech in 1775.

The railroad also constructed new docks on the James River, at the site of what became Intermediate Terminal. Not until 1882 did the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad extend its line 74 miles east and construct a terminal at Newport News, where ships needing deeper water could dock.

During tunnel construction, subsidence caused the home of the minister to collapse and broke nearby gas lines. One major subsidence event swallowed several houses:20

One of these houses turned a somersault as it fell into the hole which was about 20 feet deep.

In 1901 the railroad completed a viaduct along the James River to bypass the congested route through the city, creating a three-level crossing of tracks that became famous. The Church Hill Tunnel was closed. In 1925, the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad began to re-open the tunnel. Ditches were excavated beneath the existing brick walls as part of an effort to widen the tunnel in order to accommodate larger freight cars, and the railroad began to install concrete arches to support the roof and walls.

The weakened walls, without adequate bracing, could not support 70 feet of dirt on top. Almost 200 feet of the roof on the western end of the tunnel collapsed unexpectedly on the afternoon of October 2, 1925. Fissures as deep as 30 feet developed in the ground above the collapsed portion, but because it was part of a Jefferson Park no houses were destroyed.

In the tunnel itself, a work train with one locomotive and 10 flatcars was buried. The engineer in the locomotive was killed, along with at least one black laborer and potentially several more. The engineer's body was recovered after nine days of digging through three shafts from the surface, but at least one laborer's body remains trapped underground along with the train. Efforts to recover them were abandoned as the clay roof continued to collapse.

The railroad added support to the portion of the tunnel that had not collapsed by installing cribs of railroad ties, then filled the tunnel with sand. Each end was sealed with a concrete plug, creating a tomb.

Subsidence is still occurring. The sand has settled, the railroad ties are rotting, and the water that steadily leaks through the roof has almost filled the tunnel. Since the 1925 collapse, more structures on top of the hill have shifted.21

the Church Hill Tunnel was constructed to provide a faster route to the railroad's docks near Rocketts Landing
the Church Hill Tunnel was constructed to provide a faster route to the railroad's docks near Rocketts Landing
Source: Library of Congress, Illustrated atlas of the city of Richmond, Va (Frederick W. Beers, 1877)

the Church Hill Tunnel was completed in 1873, closed in 1901, and collapsed in 1925
the Church Hill Tunnel was completed in 1873, closed in 1901, and collapsed in 1925
Source: Virginia Commonwealth University, Atlas of the City of Richmond (George William Baist, 1889)

There are four Metrorail tunnels in the Coastal Plain of Northern Virginia, in addition to the Metro tunnel at Tysons and the Wilkes Street railroad tunnel in Alexandria.

underground Metrorail stations in Virginia now have covers over the escalators that bring customers to the surface
underground Metrorail stations in Virginia now have covers over the escalators that bring customers to the surface
Source: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Momentum, The Next Generation of Metro, Strategic Plan 2013-2025 (p.70)

Blue and Yellow line trains go through a tunnel north of the Braddock Road station. The tracks are also underground from a spot east of Crystal City to the edge of the Potomac River, which the Yellow Line crosses on a bridge.

the Yellow Line goes underneath North Henry Street (Route 1) near the Braddock Road station
the Yellow Line goes underneath North Henry Street (Route 1) near the Braddock Road station
Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online

The Blue and Yellow lines diverge at the Pentagon. The Blue Line travels on the surface along the edge of Arlington Cemetery, but goes underground again to reach the Rosslyn station. The Blue, Orange, and Silver lines cross the Potomac River in a tube excavated through the bedrock.

the Metrorail tunnel for the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines between Rosslyn-Foggy Bottom stations is marked on navigation charts
the Metrorail tunnel for the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines between Rosslyn-Foggy Bottom stations is marked on navigation charts
Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Coast Survey Chart 12289

The Orange/Silver line is buried underground between Ballston and the Potomac River, just past the Rosslyn station.

the Orange/Silver lines go underground just west of Ballston
the Orange/Silver lines go underground just west of Ballston
Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online

The Yellow line has two tunnels between the Potomac River and the Braddock Road station, built by the cut-and-cover method. The Blue Line is underground from the Potomac River through the Rosslyn Station. It surfaces for the Arlington Cemetery station, and then goes underground again for the Pentagon, Pentagon City, and Crystal City stations.

The Crystal City station provides underground connections to the Crystal Underground complex of retail outlets and offices. There was originally another underground station on the Blue Line, at the Pentagon. That station allowed employees with appropriate security clearances to get direct access from the shopping plaza. Tightened security after 9/11 led to the closure of the underground access point, forcing Metrorail customers to come and go via the surface.

In the underground tunnel just south of the Pentagon is the beginning of a tunnel for a line that was never built. The only evidence of the proposed line to Columbia Pike is in the paper trail of Metro planning and the stub of that tunnel near the Pentagon.

The Blue Line shares the tunnel between the Crystal City and Braddock Road stations with the Yellow Line, as well as the tunnel at the Pentagon City and Crystal City stations.

The Blue Line shares the Rosslyn station with the Orange/Silver lines. The underground platform was built at two different levels, allowing the lines to avoid an at-grade intersection.22

The Rosslyn station is the deepest Metrorail tunnel in Virginia. A trip on the escalator takes passengers 200' to the surface.23

Metro blasted through Piedmont bedrock below Coastal Plain sediments to construct tunnels in northern Washington and in Arlington, Virginia
Metro blasted through Piedmont bedrock below Coastal Plain sediments to construct tunnels in northern Washington and in Arlington, Virginia
Source: George Mason University, Building the Washington Metro

after crossing the Potomac River on the Charles R. Fenwick Bridge, the Yellow Line goes into a tunnel to the Pentagon City station
after crossing the Potomac River on the Charles R. Fenwick Bridge, the Yellow Line goes into a tunnel to the Pentagon City station
Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online

the Blue Line goes into a tunnel to get beneath the Pentagon parking lots
the Blue Line goes into a tunnel to get beneath the Pentagon parking lots
Source: Google Maps

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) chose to use the New Austrian Tunneling Method to expand the Rosslyn station and open a new station entrance in 2013. The bus-only tunnel for passengers to switch to Metrorail, below the 31-story south tower in the Central Place development, is located at ground level between North Moore Street and North Lynn Street. A similar tunnel was included in the Pentagon building, but closed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.24

The agency's "Momentum, The Next Generation of Metro, Strategic Plan 2013-2025" proposes expanding the Blue Line's underground infrastructure further at Rosslyn.

Possibilities include building new underground track to connect the Blue Line to the Orange/Silver lines, and potentially excavating a completely new station dedicated for Blue Line trains. A new station would enhance the potential for building another tunnel underneath the Potomac River for a new east-west line.25

more tunneling will be required at Rosslyn if Blue Line infrastructure is expanded, as proposed by Metro
more tunneling will be required at Rosslyn if Blue Line infrastructure is expanded, as proposed by Metro
Source: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Momentum, The Next Generation of Metro, Strategic Plan 2013-2025 (p.62)

The Colonial Parkway goes through a tunnel stretching 1,190 feet underneath the historic area of Williamsburg. Reverend Dr. W. A. R. Goodwin, the rector of Bruton Parish Church and sparkplug for the restoration of the town, is credited with proposing the idea.

Local, National Park Service, and Williamsburg Foundation (now Colonial Williamsburg) officials debated alternative routes for the parkway before deciding to build a tunnel. A top priority of the Williamsburg Foundation, advocated by Arthur Shurcliff, was to avoid impacting John D. Rockefeller Jr.'s home at Bassett Hall.

The tunnel was built in 1940-1942, using traditional cut-and-cover techniques. The Market Square was rebuilt on top of the tunnel. A ventilator shaft was planned midway, near the James City County courthouse. A metal grate near the stocks and pillory allows ventilation today, without a visible shaft on the surface.

There were several landslides during construction, and the tunnel contractor was blamed for poor performance. Workers were injured, and nearby structures were damaged as the ground slumped.

excavating the tunnel created a big trench through the historic district, which was then covered
excavating the tunnel created a big trench through the historic district, which was then covered
Source: Library of Congress, Historic American Engineering Record, Colonial Parkway, Williamsburg Tunnel

World War II delayed completion of the tunnel's interior. After paving and installation of lights, it opened to traffic in 1949. Though bicycles are welcome on the Colonial Parkway, they are not allowed in the tunnel and must take a detour via streets in Williamsburg.26

two main alternatives were considered for routing Colonial Parkway through Williamsburg, as well as a tunnel
two main alternatives were considered for routing Colonial Parkway through Williamsburg, as well as a tunnel
Source: Library of Congress, Historic American Engineering Record, Colonial Parkway, Williamsburg Tunnel

vehicles pass underneath Historic Williamsburg through a tunnel on the Colonial Parkway
vehicles pass underneath Historic Williamsburg through a tunnel on the Colonial Parkway
Source: Library of Congress, Historic American Engineering Record, View to Southwest of Williamsburg Tunnel (HAER No. VA-48-D)

Also on the Coastal Plain, there are five highway tunnels in Hampton Roads: Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, Midtown Tunnel, Downtown Tunnel, and the Monitor–Merrimac Memorial Bridge–Tunnel. To minimize construction costs, bridges were constructed from the shoreline to artificial islands which anchored the ends of tunnel segments.

The US Navy required that the shipping channels not be crossed by a bridge and forced the use of tunnels. The military feared an enemy could destroy a bridge and cause the wreckage to block the channel, bottling up warships in the Elizabeth River, James River, or Chesapeake Bay.

The first ten tunnels were constructed by building segments of steel tubes onshore and floating them to the site. Each end was sealed, making the segments airtight. Once placed in the correct location, weight was added to sink each segment. The segments were placed, one at a time, into a trench excavated in the river channel. Sediments were then added on top to completely bury the tunnel, limiting the risk that a ship's anchor might puncture the tubes.

The tube segments were aligned carefully so they could be connected tightly to create a waterproof seal. Then the ends of each segment, no longer needed to keep water out, were removed to allow for travel through the entire underwater tunnel. Once lights and ventilation ducts were installed, and the roadway completed, the tunnel was opened for traffic.

until the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was expanded with a boring machine, all tunnels in the region were built with steel tubes floated to an excavated trench
until the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was expanded with a boring machine, all tunnels in the region were built with steel tubes floated to an excavated trench
until the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was expanded with a boring machine, all tunnels in the region were built with steel tubes floated to an excavated trench
until the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was expanded with a boring machine, all tunnels in the region were built with steel tubes floated to an excavated trench
Source: Virginia Department of Transportation, HRBT History

The Norfolk-Portsmouth Bridge-Tunnel, known today as the Downtown Tunnel, was the first to be completed in 1952. A parallel two-lane tunnel was completed in 1987.

The first two-lane tube of the Midtown Tunnel opened in 1962. A parallel tube to double capacity was added in 2016.

The first tunnel of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel was built in 1957. Its second tube was completed in 1976.

Two new two-lane tunnels are planned for completion in 2024. That project was chosen as the region's top priority, after decades of debate over transportation alternatives. It will double the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel to carry eight lanes of traffic.

The existing two tunnels will be configured to carry traffic west, from Norfolk to Hampton. The four new lanes will be located on the upstream (western) side of the existing facility, in part to avoid conflicts with the historic site of Fort Wool.

the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel capacity will be doubled from four lanes to eight
the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel capacity will be doubled from four lanes to eight
Source: Virginia Department of Transportation, Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel

Two lanes will be for general purpose traffic, one lane will be for High Occupancy Toll (HOT) traffic at all times, and one lane will be a shoulder for most of the day. That shoulder lane will normally be a refuge for cars that break down, but will be opened up as a second HOT lane when demand is sufficient.

On land, the I-64 approaches will be widened to just six lanes. Widening the highway on land to eight lanes would require condemning private property, and getting some of the Naval Base Norfolk property. Building an eight-lane Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel rather than expanding it to just six lanes will add expense, and each approach will still be a six-lane bottleneck. However, regional leaders anticipated this project would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Adding just two lanes now, and getting another expansion of the bridge-tunnel to add two more lanes at a later date when approaches might also be expanded, was too great of a political risk. Overspending some now to create an eight-lane facility was a smart investment, one that guaranteed the expansion would occur.27

the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel expansion was placed on the west side
the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel expansion was placed on the west side
Source: Virginia Department of Transportation, Hampton Roads Crossing Study, Environmental Assessment Re-evaluation of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Appendix A)

The Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel opened in 1992. It too has twin two-lane tunnels, to serve four lanes of traffic.28

artificial islands anchor the ends of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel and nine other tunnels in the region
artificial islands anchor the ends of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel and nine other tunnels in the region
Source: Virginia Department of Transportation, HRBT History

Two Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel tunnels were opened in 1964, one underneath the Thimble Shoals channel and one underneath the Chesapeake Channel. Construction of a second tube below the Thimble Shoals channel started in 2018. That project was the first to use a Tunnel Boring Machine, rather than placing prebuilt tubes inside an excavated trench.

The Tunnel Boring Machine, named Chessie, will excavate 50,000 truckloads of sediments. Chessie is designed to add solvents at the boring face to facilitate the removal of dirt, so excavated material is expected to exceed the acceptable level of Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH). Dirt which exceeds the threshold must be buried in a landfill, not trucked to a borrow pit that is available on the Eastern Shore or deposited offshore in a designated disposal site.

When the second Midtown Tunnel tube was dug, 10% of the excavated Elizabeth River sediments were excessively contaminated with hydrocarbons from earlier industrial activities in the area. The trenching process, unlike the boring machine, added no solvents, and 90% of the excavated sediments were "clean enough." Those could be barged to the ocean disposal site, a far cheaper method of disposal than trucking to a landfill.29

A new bridge-tunnel tunnel, the "Third Crossing" or "Patriot's Crossing," is in the planning stges. The decision to Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel limits funding for the Third Crossing, but the transportation planners have already selected a preferred route. Alternative 9 will connect I-64 in Norfolk to I-664 in Suffolk/Newport News, by adding a new bridge-tunnel north of Craney Island. It includes an over-water intersection with the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel.30

Alternative 9 of the Third Crossing is the preferred choice of the planners in Hampton Roads
Alternative 9 of the Third Crossing is the preferred choice of the planners in Hampton Roads
Source: Virginia Department of Transportation, Hampton Roads Crossing Study, Final Environmental Impact Statement (Figure 2-5)

the Third Crossing was delayed, in order to fund expansion of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel
the Third Crossing was delayed, in order to fund expansion of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel
Source: Virginia Department of Transportation, Hampton Roads Third Crossing - Aerial Map

Across Virginia, many more additional tunnels have been constructed for purposes other than vehicle transportation. Numerous buildings have tunnels for utility pipes, or to permit people to walk between structures without having to go outside. Richmond has a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) system, where stormwater and wastewater infrastructure includes tunnels for both transport and storage. Alexandria was forced to do the same, to reduce discharge of untreated sewage after heavy rains.

The City of Staunton blasted a tunnel over one mile long (5,680 feet, to be exact) through Lookout Mountain in 1924-26. Inside the 6-fot by 4-foot tunnel, a 20-inch pipe carried water from the city's new reservoir to Staunton.31

Blue Ridge Tunnel

Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel

Hampton Roads Bridges and Tunnels

Railroads of Virginia

The Silver Line Tunnel at Tysons

tunnels on the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Railway cost more money to construct initially, but reduced grades and curves have lowered operating costs for a century
tunnels on the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Railway cost more money to construct initially, but reduced grades and curves have lowered operating costs for a century
Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online

Links

during the Civil War, Union officers dug a tunnel to escape Libby Prison in Richmond
during the Civil War, Union officers dug a tunnel to escape Libby Prison in Richmond
Source: Library of Congress, Plan of the tunnel and vicinity [of Libby Prison, Richmond, Va. (Robert Knox Sneden)

References

1. Bob Lawrence, "Holbrook tunnel," Blogging the Railroad Tunnels, January 20, 2013, https://thetunneldiaries.com/2013/01/20/holbrook-tunnel/; Bob Lawrence, "Pounding Mill tunnel #1," Blogging the Railroad Tunnels, October 1, 2012, https://thetunneldiaries.com/2012/10/01/pounding-mill-tunnel-1/ (last checked November 20, 2018)
2. "Bee Rock Tunnel," Kingsport Public Library, https://www.kingsportlibrary.org/kpt_archives/bee-rock-tunnel/; "Bee Rock tunnel," Bob Lawrence, Blogging the Railroad Tunnels, May 3, 2012, https://thetunneldiaries.com/2012/05/03/bee-rock-tunnel/; "Roaring Branch Trail and Bee Tunnel," Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation, https://www.myswva.org/outdoors-venue/roaring-branch-trail-and-bee-tunnel; "They can’t wait to get on the trail," Coalfield Progress, October 26, 2017, http://www.thecoalfieldprogress.com/news/they-can-t-wait-to-get-on-the-trail/article_8536efbe-b9f2-11e7-a08c-db9faf1b7a03.html; "Backbone Rock Recreation Area," Cherokee National Forest, US Forest Service, https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/cherokee/recarea/?recid=34934 (last checked November 17, 2018)
3. Maury Klein, History of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, University Press of Kentucky, 1972, pp.280-282, https://books.google.com/books?id=rCr24DyEDjgC; Kincaid A. Herr, The Louisville and Nashville Railroad, 1850-1963, University Press of Kentucky, 2015, p.91, pp.98-99, https://books.google.com/books?id=AJ8eBgAAQBAJ; Bob Lawrence, "Cumberland Gap tunnel (the old one)," Blogging the Railroad Tunnels, January 25, 2013, https://thetunneldiaries.com/2013/01/25/cumberland-gap-tunnel-the-old-one/ (last checked May 13, 2018)
4. Ed Wolfe, The Interstate Railroad: History of an Appalachian Coal Road, Old Line Graphics, 1994, p.12.
5. "Volume 2a: CSX'S Cumberland Valley Subdivision," W&H Main Yards: Guide to Appalachian Coal Hauling Railroads, Webville and Hypertext Railroad Company, http://www.spikesys.com/Trains/App_coal/apcl_2a.html; "Duke Energy Corporation V. CSX Transportation," Surface Transportation Board, Docket Number: NOR_42070_0, March 21, 2003, https://www.stb.gov/decisions/readingroom.nsf/cac42df635267da4852572b80041558c/2c34ac268421d1c285256ce200729d2c?OpenDocument (last checked November 18, 2018)
6. Charles H. Bogart, The Railroads of Kentucky During the 1940s & 1950s, Lulu.com, 2014, p.132, https://books.google.com/books?id=r3FaDwAAQBAJ; Bob Lawrence, "Pine Mountain tunnel," Blogging the Railroad Tunnels, November 7, 2011, https://thetunneldiaries.com/2011/11/07/pine-mountain-tunnel/; Bob Lawrence, "Pine Mountain tunnel, west portal," Blogging the Railroad Tunnels, May 28, 2014, https://thetunneldiaries.com/2014/05/28/pine-mountain-tunnel-west-portal/; "Volume 6: CSX's Big Sandy Subdivision," W&H Main Yards: Guide to Appalachian Coal Hauling Railroads, Webville and Hypertext Railroad Company, http://www.spikesys.com/Trains/App_coal/apcl_6.html (last checked November 17, 2018)
7. "Kentucky-Virginia groups talk about opening old rail tunnel," The Mountain Eagle, April 23, 2014, http://www.themountaineagle.com/news/2014-04-23/News/KentuckyVirginia_groups_talk_about_opening_old_rai.html (last checked November 17, 2018)
8. Eugene L. Huddleston, Appalachian Crossing - The Pocahontas Roads, TLC Publishing, 1989, p.36; "Norfolk & Western Elkhorn Grade Electrification," Railway Age Gazette, Volume 58, Number 23 (January 1, 1915), p.1153, https://books.google.com/books?id=zUA_AQAAMAAJ; "Return To Coaldale - Great Story By Buddy French," Shinbrier - Almost Heaven, http://shinbrierwv.com/coaldale/return_to_coaldale_-_great_story_by_buddy_french (last checked December 6, 2018)
9. Samuel Phillips, "The climb to Clark's Gap via the former Virginian Railroad," Trains, April 16, 2013, http://cs.trains.com/trn/b/staff/archive/2013/04/16/the-climb-to-clark-39-s-gap-via-the-former-virginian-railroad.aspx; "Milepost 243 to 375 - Roanoke to Elmore," Virginian Railway Heritage Trail, July 30, 2012, http://virginianrailwayheritagetrail.blogspot.com/2012/07/milepost-243-roanoke-to-merrimac.html (last checked December 6, 2018)
10. "Welcome," Cumberland Gap Tunnel Authority, http://www.cgtunnel.com/ (last checked November 20, 2018)
11. "The Big Walker and East River Mountain Tunnels," Highway History, Federal Highway Administration, https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/back0705.cfm; "The Tunnels," Bland County History Archives, http://www.blandcountyhistoryarchives.org/tunnelsnew/index.html; Christie Whitt, Bland County History Archives, http://www.blandcountyhistoryarchives.org/tunnelsnew/erivermtntnl.html; Larry Bradley, Bland County History Archives, http://www.blandcountyhistoryarchives.org/tunnelsnew/bradley.html, Steve Clark, Bland County History Archives, http://www.blandcountyhistoryarchives.org/tunnelsnew/steveclark.html; J.C. Hanes, J.M. Morgan, Jr., "The Big Walker Tunnel (1967-1972)," The History and Heritage of Civil Engineering in Virginia, 1973, http://www.roadstothefuture.com/VASCE-History/VASCE-Big-Walker.htm; "Fire Closes Tunnel Between Virginia, West Virginia," Firehouse, July 26, 2014, https://www.firehouse.com/operations-training/news/11594323/truck-fire-closes-east-river-mountain-tunnel; "Minor Damage from Fire in W.Va. Tunnel," Firehouse, December 27, 2014, https://www.firehouse.com/prevention-investigation/news/12030594/christmas-car-fire-in-east-river-mountain-tunnel (last checked November 20, 2018)
12. "Alleghany Tunnel (old)," Bridgehunter.com, https://bridgehunter.com/wv/greenbrier/bh60827/ (last checked February 21, 2019)
13. Rich Melvin, "The Lewis Tunnel Incident," posted on O Gauge Railroading On Line Forum, https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/fileSendAction/fcType/0/fcOid/4245430060655146/filePointer/4245430064047957/fodoid/4245430064047952/Lews%20Tunnel%20-%20WEB.pdf (last checked February 23, 2019)
14. "How John Kelly Saved the Blue Ridge Tunnel," Crozet Gazette, November 6, 2015, https://www.crozetgazette.com/2015/11/06/how-john-kelly-saved-the-blue-ridge-tunnel/; James Poyntz Nelson, Claudius Crozet; his story of the four tunnels in the Blue Ridge, Mitchell & Hotchkiss (Richmond, VA), 1917, pp.3-4, posted online by HathiTrust, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.32044091993402 (last checked November 16, 2018)
15. Harvey P. Benson, "The Skyline Drive: A Brief History of a Mountaintop Motorway," The Regional Review, Volume IV, Number 2 (February, 1940), https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/regional_review/vol4-2b.htm; "Skyline Drive History," Shenandoah Valley Travel Association, https://visitskylinedrive.org/discover/skyline-drive-history/; "Nightly Closures For Repairs To Mary's Rock Tunnel In Shenandoah National Park," National Parks Traveler, May 12, 2016, https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2016/05/nightly-closures-repairs-marys-rock-tunnel-shenandoah-national-park; "Skyline Drive Historic District," National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, February 23, 2009, p.23, https://www.nps.gov/shen/learn/historyculture/upload/nhl_skyline_drive_historic_district_final.pdf (last checked November 20, 2018)
16. "Tunnels," Blue Ridge Parkway, National Park Service, https://www.nps.gov/blri/learn/historyculture/tunnels.htm (last checked November 20, 2018)
17. "Airports Authority Board Selects Dulles Airport Metro Station Location," Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, April 6, 2011, http://www.mwaa.com/about/airports-authority-board-selects-dulles-airport-metro-station-location; "Metro stays underground at Dulles Airport," TunnelTalk, April 2011, https://www.tunneltalk.com/Dulles-Airport-Link-Apr11-Underground-alignment-into-the-airport.php; "In tests, flying colors for Dulles gate-to-terminal train," Washington Post, December 3, 2009, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/02/AR2009120202572.html (last checked November 17, 2018)
18. "Tunnels and Trestles," Lynchburg and Central Virginia Historic Railroad Photographs, http://retroweb.com/wp/lynchburg-rails/tunnels-and-trestles/ (last checked December 29, 2018)
19. Marina Coma, "Wilkes Street Tunnel," Clio, May 11, 2016, https://www.theclio.com/web/entry?id=22977; "Wilkes Street tunnel is important piece of past," Gazette-Packet, October 19, 1995, https://www.alexandriava.gov/historic/info/default.aspx?id=41154; "Alexandria Celebrates Wilkes Street Tunnel Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, Saturday, June 14," City of Alexandria news release, June 9, 2008, https://www.alexandriava.gov/news_display.aspx?id=13486 (last checked November 17, 2018)
20. Walter S. Griggs, Jr., "The Church Hill Tunnel," Railroad History, Number 135 (Fall 1976), p.14, https://www.jstor.org/stable/43520605 (last checked November 25, 2018)
21. Walter S. Griggs, Jr., "The Church Hill Tunnel," Railroad History, Number 135 (Fall 1976), https://www.jstor.org/stable/43520605; "Church Hill Tunnel," AtlasObscura, https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/church-hill-tunnel; "Holmberg: Is the Church Hill Tunnel still a menace?," WTVR, October 2, 2015, https://wtvr.com/2015/10/02/is-church-hill-tunnel-still-a-menace/; "Virginia Town Targets Mystery Train's Secrets," National Public Radio, June 28, 2006, https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=5519048; "Must-See RVA! — Church Hill Tunnel," RVAHub, March 9, 2018, https://rvahub.com/2018/03/09/must-see-rva-church-hill-tunnel/ (last checked November 25, 2018)
22. "WMATA Blue Line," www.nycsubway.org, https://www.nycsubway.org/wiki/WMATA_Blue_Line; "Why is there no Metro line on Columbia Pike?," Greater Greater Washington, October 28, 2016, https://ggwash.org/view/43346/why-is-there-no-metro-line-on-columbia-pike (last checked November 17, 2018)
23. "Rosslyn Metro Escalator," AtlasObscura, https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/rosslyn-metro-escalator (last checked November 17, 2018)
24. "The future of transit tunneling in Washington, D.C.," Tunneling and Underground Construction, June 2018, p.14, https://www.wsp.com/-/media/Insights/US/future-of-tunneling-dc-na-tunneling-conf.pdf; "Opening of tunnel in Rosslyn will shave time off some Metrobus trips," InsideNOVA, July 3, 2018, https://www.insidenova.com/news/arlington/opening-of-tunnel-in-rosslyn-will-shave-time-off-some/article_55aab476-7ee4-11e8-b6c8-cf333534a2d5.html; "JBG Has Built A Bus Tunnel For WMATA In Rosslyn's Central Place," Bisnow, December 14, 2016, https://www.bisnow.com/washington-dc/news/multifamily/jbgs-central-place-in-rosslyn-will-include-a-bus-tunnel-68871 (last checked November 17, 2018)
25. "Momentum, The Next Generation of Metro, Strategic Plan 2013-2025," Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, pp.61-62, https://www.wmata.com/initiatives/strategic-plans/upload/momentum-full.pdf (last checked November 17, 2018)
26. "The Colonial Parkway," Colonial National Historical Park, National Park Service, https://www.nps.gov/colo/parkway.htm; Frances Watson Clark, The Colonial Parkway, Arcadia Publishing, 2010, https://books.google.com/books?id=Ie9zfJgbujsC; "Colonial Parkway, Williamsburg Tunnel," Historic American Engineering Record, Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/resource/hhh.va1493.sheet/?sp=1; "Colonial Parkway Tunnel Bypass from Jamestown to Yorktown," Ride With GPS, https://ridewithgps.com/routes/12121936; "Market Square," Colonial Williamsburg, http://www.history.org/almanack/places/hb/hbmarksq.cfm (last checked November 20, 2018)
27. "Hampton Roads Tunnels and Bridges," Virginia Department of Transportation, http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/hro-tunnel-default.asp; "'Historic day for Hampton Roads': Vote adds third tunnel to HRBT plan, more lanes for I-64," The Virginian-Pilot, December 7, 2016, https://pilotonline.com/news/local/transportation/article_f711d1c5-3a5a-574b-b081-2ef0f6aff05a.html; "VDOT: Half of expanded Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel to be toll lanes," Daily Press, August 17, 2018, https://www.dailypress.com/news/dp-news-vdot-bridge-tunnel-20180816-story.html (last checked February 16, 2019)
28. "Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel (I-664)," Roads to the Future, http://www.roadstothefuture.com/I664_VA_MMMBT.html (last checked February 16, 2019)
29. "New Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel tube will create a mountain of contaminated soil," The Virginian-Pilot, March 3, 2018, https://pilotonline.com/news/local/article_b1c37843-0d37-5283-8513-0b9e6210897b.html (last checked February 16, 2019)
30. "New bridge crossings for Hampton Roads pushed far into future in new plan," The Virginian-Pilot, February 18, 2016, https://pilotonline.com/news/local/transportation/article_b9aa59e3-2dc1-53d1-ae88-5aa8a6d481ec.html (last checked February 16, 2019)
31. "Saving Staunton: An engineering marvel in the national forest," Friends of Shenandoah Mountain, http://www.friendsofshenandoahmountain.org/history-of-staunton-dam.html (last checked November 28, 2018)

the Geographic Names Information System lists 67 tunnels in Virginia, or on the border
the Geographic Names Information System lists 67 tunnels in Virginia, or on the border
Source: US Geological Survey, Geographic Names Information System


Transportation Patterns in Virginia
Virginia Places