The tunnel opened in 1954 as part of the West Virginia turnpike, a two-lane road that required the movement of 30 million cubic yards of earth. In 1987, the tunnel was bypassed by an open cut that displaced earth from a 371 foot cut in the mountain to a 311 foot deep fill in the adjacent valley (which replaced the bridge that had projected from the south entrance to the tunnel). This cut moved 10 million cubic yards of earth, and yielded about 300,000 tons of coal from the mountain. Since being bypassed, the tunnel has become an unusual testing and training facility. From 1993-95, fires were set in the tunnel to test ventilation designs for Boston's Central Artery/Tunnel project. Starting in 2000, it has been used by the Center for National Response to train local, state, federal, and military response units. Sets have been constructed within the tunnel, including a post-blast rubble area, a subway station, illicit drug laboratories, and a highway incident scene.
Center for National Response/Memorial Tunnel