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The next phase of the project will reach the boundary of Salem and involve railroad property.
Monday, April 22, 2013
Roanoke is moving closer to a start on the next phase of the Roanoke River Greenway, seeking an engineering firm and applying for the last bit of funding needed for the project.
It means work on the link between Bridge Street, in the city’s Norwich neighborhood, and the Salem city line could start as early as next spring, City Engineer Phil Schirmer said Monday.
That could mean people walking or biking on the greenway extension by 2015, he said.
Schirmer said the city decided to start looking for an engineer to design the project because the community’s fundraising effort has been so strong.
He said signs of interest in funding the work from the Virginia Department of Transportation are encouraging, too. The city applied to VDOT last week for the final $2.5 million it needs to complete the Bridge Street-to-Salem leg.
The city is also talking with Norfolk Southern about the route, since a large part will likely cross railroad property, Schirmer said.
The route the city prefers would cross from Norwich, on the south bank of the river, to the north bank at Bridge Street.
It would follow the river on that side for about three-quarters of a mile, crossing back to the south bank just below the western end of Patterson Avenue.
After about a half-mile on that side of the river, it would cross again to run alongside Norfolk Southern’s Material Yard. That’s the heart of Norfolk Southern’s concern, and where fencing and screening will be important, Schirmer said.
“They’re saying they’d like to see the details,” he said.
Upstream from the yard, the greenway will cross the river one more time, reaching the Salem city line at the Blue Industrial Park. Salem has been working on plans to extend the riverside greenway from Rotary Park at Virginia 419 east to the Roanoke city line.
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