ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Senator Tim Kaine and Senator Mark Warner stopped in Southwest Virginia to celebrate federal funding for the Wiley Drive Low Water Bridge in Roanoke.
“We have 40 billion dollars in this bill, just for bridges, and we have got over 700 bridges that are deficient in the commonwealth of Virginia,” said Sen. Warner.
On Wednesday, April 12th, both Sen. Kaine and Sen. Warner visited the bridge to present $2.5 million in federal funding to assist the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) with repairs. The funding will go toward upgrades for Wiley Drive Low Water Bridge that will help improve the habitat for fish, access to outdoor recreation, broadband, and mental health research.
“It’s just a good thing for Roanoke, because this greenway and the park and all of the natural assets that Ronaoke is showing off and celebrating, it’s now really part of the brand and the city,” said Sen. Kaine
City officials were joined by both senators and presented a ceremonial check to the Roanoke City Council members and Mayor Sherman P. Lea, Sr.
They discussed the impacts the funding will have on raising the bridge, bringing improvements to the local wildlife habitats and the community.
Kaine also said this will also increase Roanoke’s attractiveness overall for both the visitors and the people who have been here their whole lives. He shared they picked this project because it had a lot of good that came with it, and it will also be a boost to outdoor recreation.
“We walk on here almost every single day. We will peek over the edge and see turtles and fish, and people will fish off the side, and I think that will be really good for species to be able to have more mobility underneath and as well as people like using the actual river like tubing or kayaking or whatever people are doing just not having to get out and go around would be great,” said Rachel Dumene, a Roanoke Resident.
While in the area, Sen. Kaine will tour the nursing and respiratory labs at Radford University Carilion and hold a roundtable to discuss support for the healthcare workforce and address staffing shortages.
The City does not have a schedule yet, but the bridge is expected to be down within the next two to three years.