Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Progress Continues On Virginia Capital Trail Extension

WILLIAMSBURG – Work is slowly progressing behind the scenes to connect the Virginia Capital Trail to points east. Truth be told, the finished product, which will be part of the Birthplace of America Trail or BoAT, is years from completion.

“Bob says this, well, the Virginia Capital Trail was 20 years in the making. It’s not like in just one day 50 miles is constructed,” said Pavithra Parthasarathi, deputy executive director of the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization.

She was referring to Bob Crum, the executive director of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization.

The plan is to extend the Virginia Capital Trail, which runs from Richmond to Jamestown, to Fort Monroe on the Peninsula and Virginia Beach on the Southside. To reach Fort Monroe, the trail will have to wind through multiple cities and counties.

“Our Peninsula localities, Newport News and Hampton and Williamsburg, York, they’ve all embraced it,” Parthasarathi said. “What the cities are trying to do is when they get funding opportunities, they are investing in biking paths.”

The priority is connecting the Jamestown end of the trail to the City of Williamsburg and the College of William & Mary. Parthasarathi said there are two options. One involves Monticello Avenue, the other John Tyler Highway. However, Jamestown Road, Ironbound Road, and Pocahontas Trail also will be involved.

“We’ve been working with our consulting team and the localities, and the one thing they’ll tell us is they are okay with either route,” Parthasarathi said.

In Newport News, the trail will go through Newport News Park and tie into the McReynolds Athletic Complex in York County.

“The City of Newport News, they’re very, very involved,” Parthasarathi said. “They have a team looking at this corridor.”

Crum said people don’t realize Newport News Park, which is situated on 7,500 acres and offers a wide variety of activities, is one of the largest municipal-owned parks east of the Mississippi River.

“I think we tend to take it for granted,” he said. “It’s really something to be proud of. That’s just an incredible asset.”

Work also is continuing on Fort Monroe, as those three areas are awaiting word on grants from the Commonwealth Transportation Board, which should be announced in June. There are other sources for funding, and York County received money for a section along Victory Boulevard going into Poquoson.

“One thing all these localities have done is anytime they have a grant or they have money in the capital programs, they’re making sure this project can advance. So, it’s been getting done,” Parthasarathi said.

Improvements are scheduled for the Capital Trail itself, including a realignment near the Richmond end of the 52-mile trail and bathrooms and water coming to the Four Mile Creek trailhead, which is at mile marker 40.

For the realignment, which will take place between miles 50 and 51, the trail will be diverted off Dock Street and onto property owned by the James River Association and the City of Richmond. Currently, there are Jersey walls along that stretch.

“It’s not great,” Cat Anthony, the executive director of the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation, said of that setup. “This will take it off the road closer to the river, and people will be able to stay away from the road.”

That work is expected to take place in summer 2024.

At Four Mile Creek, work is underway on the water and sewage. However, construction of the facility has not started, and Anthony doesn’t have a timeline for that project.

At the Jamestown end, the bridge just west of mile marker 3 will be coated with an epoxy to help with slip resistance.

The Cap2Cap bike ride, the foundation’s annual fundraiser, is approaching on Friday, May 12 and Saturday, May 13, right in the heart of National Bike Month. As of Monday afternoon, almost 1,200 cyclists had registered. On May 12, there will be a party at Chickahominy Riverfront Park, and May 13 there will be one at Dorey Park. Ride options are 7, 25, 50, and 100 miles. For the first time, shuttles are being offered.

Overall annual trail-use numbers are down from the pandemic, but it’s not by much, Anthony said. During the pandemic, there were about 1.2 million trail counts each year, but the past two years the number has been closer to 1 million.

“We have a steady crew of people using the trail,” she said. “We’ve seen an increase in runners, roller-skaters, walkers.”

The latter part of that is important to Anthony and her team, who want everyone to know the trail is not just for bikers. For non-cyclists, there is an annual run in October, and roller-skating clinics in the summer.

For more information on the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation and the Cap2Cap bike ride, go to

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