Oct 19, 2023 - News

Henrico breaks ground on 43-mile Fall Line Trail

Illustration of a crane moving a trail sign.  

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Construction is beginning on a 43-mile trail between Petersburg and Ashland.

What's happening: On Wednesday, officials in Henrico County broke ground on the first segment of the Fall Line Trail.

The big picture: Envisioned as a north-south counterpoint to the Capital Trail, the $300-million project will ultimately connect three counties, three cities and one town.

  • The shared-use bike and pedestrian pathway has been in the planning stages for six years.

Details: Henrico broke ground on a quarter-mile segment in Lakeside next to a former bank branch recently purchased by the county to serve as a welcome center.

  • The county expects to complete the seven miles of trail within its borders by fall 2026.
Map: Courtesy of VDOT

Zoom out: Construction is expected to begin in Chesterfield later this year, said Jon Lugbill, director of the nonprofit Sports Backers, which is advocating for the project and plans to operate the Henrico welcome center — a space that will double as the organization's new headquarters.

Officials toss dirt during a ceremonial groundbreaking Wednesday. Photo: Ned Oliver/Axios

What they're saying: Local officials say they see the trail as an economic development opportunity.

  • Henrico County manager John Vithoulkas told Axios he's already heard positive feedback from business owners along the route.
  • "Companies are coming in and looking for amenities for their employees," he said.

Of note: The project is fully funded between Richmond and Ashland, mostly through grants and regional transportation funding.

  • Planners still need to close a $50-million funding gap to complete segments south of the city, but supporters say they don't expect that to be an impediment.

What's next: Planning is ongoing along parts of the trail, including in South Richmond and Chesterfield, where some road and river crossings have presented challenges, Lugbill said.

  • Officials expect the trail to be completed in the next five to seven years.
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