News Stories

Project partners cooperate to open 185 miles of Upper Roanoke River

Published Feb. 18, 2009

   A small, low-water dam across the Roanoke River might not look like much of an obstacle, yet it might was well be the Great Wall of China to a Roanoke Logperch trying to swim upstream for spawning.

   Now, as part of the Roanoke River Flood Damage Reduction project, the dam is being removed and the sewer line it once carried is being buried beneath the river bed. The project is expected to cost about $900,000, with funds contributed by The Western Virginia Water Authority, the City of Roanoke, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

   Tennesse-based Haren Construction Co. is carrying out the work to remove the old dam and sewer line and to install the new line beneath the river channel. Partadam, Inc., a New Jersey-based company, installed a coffer dam that diverted the flow of water and allowed the Haren to work in the river channel.

   When work is complete, 185 more miles of the Upper Roanoke channel, its forks, and its tributaries will be open to the endangered Roanoke Logperch and other species. Food species, both plant and animal, will also be able to move more freely in the river.

   Removing the dam will also improve the human environment by removing a source of localized flooding and sedimentation build up, and by providing a portage-free passage for recreational boaters.