Some Students Say LU Tunnel Is Inconvenient

Reporter: Melinda Zosh

Lynchburg, VA - Liberty University's new tunnel was supposed to help students dodge dangerous traffic, but the convenience has turned into controversy for some students.
Liberty University student Mark Simpson uses his wheels to get everywhere. But this double amputee uses his hands to climb down the steps leading to LU's tunnel on the campus side.

"The sad thing is there's a perfectly easy way to get to and from Wal-Mart using this tunnel, but I can't use it," Simpson said.

His hands are the only thing that help him get down the steps.

"Some of these students can't get out of their wheelchairs like I can to move so they run the risk of hurting themselves," he said.

Residential students can come through either tunnel entrance as they please. But off campus students can only enter from the campus side of the tunnel. They can come back through from the Wards Road side, but only the same day they entered or up until 3 a.m. the next day.

"A commuter student can't just swipe in from this side so it limits the parking they can do," said Cody May, student government president .

It's an issue for off campus students like Heriberto Torruella. He and his wife share a car so he needs the tunnel to get to class.

"I should be able to walk to class perfectly fine, but I have just as much right to walk across this tunnel as any other student. I pay tuition," Torruella said.

Online students like Logan New couldn't get their Flames passes to work, either.

"If I'm eating lunch and I need to go to the campus or the library I can't get there or if I'm on campus and I need to go off campus to eat, I can't so I'm trapped," New said.

"We will not stop fighting until the job is done or fixed," Simpson said.

Commuters can't get through is because of parking issues. University officials say they have worked out an agreement with the Greater Lynchburg Transit Company to help the handicapped get on campus, saying those students can ride the bus.

Officials also say any student having issues can call or email the Liberty Police Department so they can help solve the problem.