The eastern portal to the Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel will be closed for an estimated three weeks for construction as officials look to expand available parking.
Beginning April 12, visitors are encouraged to use the western parking lot in Waynesboro as the Nelson County-based entrance and parking lot are closed for construction. Claire Richardson, director of Nelson County Parks and Recreation, said the expansion will provide at least 25 additional parking spots.
Parking has been a known issue to officials since the tunnel reopened in November, with visitors often resorting to parking in non-designated areas due to a lack of available options. Richardson said as of April 5, the tunnel has seen a total of nearly 49,000 visitors.
County Administrator Steve Carter said the county is in the process of approving a change order that may add another three to five spaces.
Richardson said visitors should be prepared to return on another day if the western parking lot is full. Cars also cannot park along U.S. 250. She recommended people visit during the week and as early as possible during the closure. Restrooms on the east side will remain open as well.
“This temporary inconvenience will provide for a better visitor experience in the long term,” Richardson said in an email.
The eastern parking lot currently has just a dozen available parking spaces while the western portal has 25 spaces including bus parking. The eastern portal also is considered to be more accessible for those with mobility issues because of the steeper grade on the western end.
Expansion of the parking lot is expected to be completed by May 4. The western portal is located at 483 Three Notched Mountain Highway in Waynesboro.