One of Virginia’s contributions to engineering is the Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel. Nestled in Rockfish Gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, the Crozet Tunnel was the longest railroad tunnel, at 4,270 feet, in the United States of its time. Claudius Crozet, French Civil Engineer, both designed and constructed the tunnel. Construction on the tunnel started in 1850 and represents the culmination of civil engineering technology based on manual drilling methods. It took eight years to construct and was closed in 1944 when it was replaced by a larger railroad tunnel.
The video below, by American Focus Films, explains the history, struggles and tribulations of the construction of the tunnel.
Restoration on the project started in 2001 and after two decades, the tunnel has been restored to its grandeur and repurposed as a rail to trails project. The restoration of the tunnel and the additional infrastructure improvements including a trail leading to the tunnel and a parking lot at both trail heads to allow access to the tunnel was completed in November 2020.
The Crozet Tunnel was designated an American Society of Civil Engineers Historical Landmark in 1976. For more information on the tunnel, https://www.asce.org/project/crozet-s-blue-ridge-tunnel/