BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) — Decades-long work on the Mendota Trail called the rails-to-trails conversion project is complete, and leaders said the public is invited to celebrate the trail’s full connection on Friday.

According to a release from the Mendota Trail Conservancy, Inc., a ribbon-cutting ceremony takes place Friday at 11 a.m. at 7664 Rich Valley Road, directly across from the former Benhams Mall.

The former railroad linked Bristol to the Mendota area in Washington County, Virginia. Project leaders said 17 trestles have since been restored and extensive improvements were made to transform the railbed into the Mendota Trail it is today.

“Our team of dedicated volunteers and supporters is excited about this amazing accomplishment,” said Jim Lapis, board president of the organization. “The full connectivity adds five restored trestles and nearly two miles of beautiful segments of the trail.”

The now-completed Mendota trail offers 12.5 miles of gentle grades that glide through the Southwest Virginia countryside.

Lapis said his team looks forward to putting the finishing touches on the trail, including navigational signage.

“Going forward, our energies and resources will be focused on providing continued support for the trail in multiple ways, including the addition of interpretive signage and various trail amenities.”

Those wishing to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday morning are encouraged to bring folding chairs if needed. All attendees are invited to enjoy the trail following the event. Officials said a limited bike shuttle service will be available hourly in Mendota for the return to Benhams.