James River Branch Trail slated for 2026

Mar 25, 2024 | by

About twenty people turned out Monday evening for a City of Richmond Department of Public Works hosted informational meeting on the James River Branch Trail at the Southside Plaza Community Service Center.

The James River Branch Trail will be an an approximately 2-mile long, 10-foot wide paved multi-use trail on an a former CSX rail bed that will connect Westover Hills Boulevard to Hopkins Road. The trail will connect neighborhoods, schools, and businesses, with direct connections from adjoining neighborhoods.

The trail will cross a number of streets, including Hull Street, Midlothian Turnpike, and Broad Rock Road. The road crossings will have either a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon or a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon, with additional traffic calming measures at Broad Rock and Midlothian Turnpike.

The project is estimated to cost $9 million and is being financed through American Rescue Plan Act funds. Right of way acquisition is slated to run through winter 2024, with utility relocation happening at the same time. Construction is scheduled for winter 2024 – spring 2026.

A trail at this location has been on the radar since at least 2008. The James River Branch Rail-Trail Concept Plan (PDF) from 2010 gives credit to former 9th District Council Representative Doug Conner for getting the ball rolling:

For several years, Richmond City Councilman Doug Conner has been advocating for the conversion of an abandoned rail-line in Southside Richmond, to serve as a pilot project, demonstrating how trails could benefit Richmond neighborhoods. In 2008, the Richmond City Council passed a “Resolution in Support of Trails and Greenways” to advance the vision of an interconnected trail network in the Richmond region. In January 2009, with the assistance of the National Park Service, Rivers and Trail Program, the Southside Richmond Rail-Trail project team was formed. Coordinated by Doug Conner, the purpose of the team was to assess the feasibility of trail development and identify next steps.

On March 31, 2009, Mr.Conner hosted an initial team meeting and a tour of the right-of- way. On April 30, 2009, a meeting was held with CSX representatives to determine interest in transfer of the property to the city for trail use. It was determined that a trail was technically feasible, and that both parties were interested in pursuing discussions.

The meeting was streamed and translated to Spanish. Does anyone know about where this might be available? I had to leave before the end of the meeting and didn’t want to interrupt by asking.

Information about the project is available on the city site HERE under LAND ACQUISITION PROJECTS –> JAMES RIVER BRANCH TRAIL. Comments can be submitted to the project manager David Guttermuth at david.guttermuth@rva.gov.


map of James River Branch Trail

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *