McAfee Knob Trailhead to Introduce New Appalachian Trail Bridge Over Route 311
A pedestrian bridge at the McAfee Knob trailhead is set to become a reality, offering a safer and more scenic path for hikers at one of the most iconic points of the Appalachian Trail.
The Virginia Department of Transportation has announced that Stonewall Bridge has been awarded a $1.5 million contract to construct the pedestrian bridge over Virginia 311, a key route leading to the popular McAfee Knob hiking destination.
This exciting project, expected to span approximately a year, is scheduled to commence later this year. The bridge, measuring about 90 feet in length and 8 feet in width, will rise 17 1/2 feet above Virginia 311’s roadway, providing a safe passage for hikers, and interstate highway-level clearance for unrestricted passage of standard commercial vehicles beneath it. It will also include a sidewalk ramp to ensure accessibility for individuals with mobility challenges
In an effort to blend with the surrounding environment, the new bridge will be constructed using concrete and steel materials and will receive “gray architectural treatments”, according to The Roanoke Times. This thoughtful design touch will seamlessly blend the bridge into the scenic beauty of the surrounding woods and rocky terrain.
Numerous organizations, including the National Park Service, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club, and the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission, in collaboration with Roanoke County, played pivotal roles in the planning and realization of this bridge. The project’s inception stemmed from the need to separate hikers from the traffic along Virginia 311, especially at the McAfee Knob trailhead, where a dangerous curve with limited sight distance poses a potential hazard. Hikers were previously required to cross the road on their journey to McAfee Knob.
Learn more about this project from the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Featured image courtesy of Anna “Magic” McKinney.
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