The Whittiers Rock Tunnel project has attracted a slew of investors, including the state, local and federal governments.
The $60 million project would connect two rock quarries in Whitties Valley, and the city of Whittys has been working to build a rail tunnel for years.
The tunnel is expected to take between three and five years to build, according to the project website.
Construction could start as soon as 2018.
“It’s a big investment and one that has a lot of long-term benefits for Whittiness,” Mayor Joe Furlong said.
“It’s also a big economic development opportunity for the community, with the construction of a rail facility to be a catalyst for the future development of the Whittiest Valley.”
The city expects to begin construction by 2022.
Construction is expected in two phases, the first to connect the two rock quarry sites.
The project is expected at the intersection of two railroad tracks.
A second phase would connect the rail tunnel to a proposed tunneling project that would eventually connect to a new station.
“We’re very excited about this project,” said Robyn Rafferty, Whitty’s assistant city manager.
“We’re hoping that this is a major catalyst for our economy and for the Whits to continue to thrive as a destination for visitors, as well as residents and businesses alike.”
The Whittills are located in northern Vermont and are a popular tourist destination.
They have about 8,000 residents and are the birthplace of the rock climbing and skiing industry.
They also offer excellent hiking and mountain biking.
The Whits Rock Tunnel is one of two projects that are under consideration by the Whispering Valley Regional Council, the region’s economic development agency.
The Whisper Valley Regional Planning Commission is scheduled to vote on the first phase of the tunnel in December.
“Our goal is to have this project approved by the regional council,” said David Tompkins, regional council executive director.
“Once that is done, the council can decide whether to proceed with the second phase or not.”
The Whispers Rock Tunnel, which would connect Whittins Rock to the nearby Rock Tunnel in Vermont, was approved in 2012.