The Blue Ridge Tunnel Project is expected to be completed by this time next year.

Steve Carter, Nelson County administrator, said in an email on July 23 the second phase of the Blue Ridge Tunnel Project is going well. The county received grant money for the second phase of the project. This money, totaling $242,507, is from the Recreational Trails Program grant from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. The grant was awarded this year after it was determined a previously required cash match from the county was not necessary.

“With the RTP funding the County will be able to complete all of the restoration of the Tunnel, specifically the additional shotcrete installation and brick liner replacement that was identified during the current construction project,” Carter said in an email.

Phase three of the project is well on its way too.

“Completion of Phase 3 will complete the overall project, work on which began in 2001-2002,” Carter said in an email.

— Erin Conway

Hundreds hold vigil at NRA headquarters for shooting victims

FAIRFAX — Hundreds of people held vigil outside the National Rifle Association’s headquarters in Virginia for the dozens slain in mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

Gun control groups including March for Our Lives organized Monday’s “Vigil for Remembrance and Change,” which sought to honor the dead and call for stronger gun laws. The back-to-back weekend shootings cost a total of 31 lives and left more than 50 people wounded.

Vigil attendees held moments of silence punctured by the recitation of victim names, including those gunned down in Chicago and the 13 black transgender women killed so far this year. Democratic Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton joined the crowd in decrying political inaction.

The NRA has said it wouldn’t take part in “politicizing” the shootings, but would work to find solutions.

—From wire reports

Erin Conway covers Nelson County for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5524.Regulators partially deny Dominion request for bill hike

RICHMOND — Virginia regulators have rejected Dominion Energy’s request to make its customers pay for long-term upgrades at power plants the company knew had a short working life.

The State Corporation Commission issued a ruling Monday partially denying the state’s largest electric utility’s request to increase customers’ bills to pay for environmental compliance projects at certain power plants.

The SCC said Dominion decided in 2015 to spend $18 million on long-term upgrades at two power stations in Chesterfield County the company expected to retire or retrofit within five years. Dominion permanently retired the two units earlier this year.

Regulators did approve some of Dominion’s other requests. Dominion argued that its total spending was “reasonable and prudent” as required by state law.

— From wire reports

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Erin Conway covers Nelson County for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5524.

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