Shared pedestrian and bike path could replace abandoned Railroad tracks in Accomack, Northampton counties

Accomack County

The former tracks of the Bay Coast Railroad could soon make way for a walking trail (Courtesy: Sister Reese)

EASTERN SHORE, Va. (WAVY) — The Eastern Shore is one step closer to developing a shared pedestrian and bike path system that would connect towns in Accomack and Northampton counties.

In December, members of the board of supervisors for both counties said they would support the project, which would result in a 49.1 mile shared-use pedestrian and bike path along the Eastern Shore Railroad’s right of way from Cape Charles to Hallwood, according to a Virginia Department of Transportation press release.

Bay Coast Railroad filed to abandon the line last year.

VDOT announced on Thursday that they will conduct a planning study to see if building the shared-use path is feasible. The study will include planning and engineering that will allow leadership in Accomack and Northampton counties to apply for a grant to fund the project. The planning study will also give county leaders an idea of the cost of the project, how much it will cost to maintain, and management options, according to a VDOT news release.

“As owners of the existing rail corridor, we are excited to work with VDOT to study the implementation of a trail to provide a healthy living to citizens and visitors on the Eastern Shore,” said Donald Hart, chairman of the Accomack-Northampton Transportation District Commission.

Residents will have an opportunity to give feedback to town leadership about the project during public meetings this summer. The counties will also conduct an online survey to procure feedback in the coming weeks.

“VDOT is looking forward to working with our project partners as we study the potential conversion of the previously used rail into a trail that promotes safety, healthy living and tourism on Virginia’s beautiful Eastern Shore,” said Chris Isdell, Accomack residency administrator.

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