Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wiley Drive Bridge To Be Replaced; No Car Traffic Allowed

Debris which accumultes (left in photo) at the hydraulic openings in the Wiley Drive low-water bridge in Wasena Park after almost any rain is a significant problem that a new bridge should help alleviate^


Those of you who use Wiley Drive in Wasena Park for exercise are in for yet another adjustment to your schedule. The low-water bridge, built by contractor Wiley Jackson many years ago in order to take his construction debris to a dump in what was to become the park, will undergo a reconstruction and will be out of service until March.

The park was down for about a year recently when flood control measures were taken.

Beginning on Monday, Oct. 12, construction crews will begin replacing the Wiley Drive low-water bridge. There was no word from the City of Roanoke whether the proposed greenway bridge just west of the low water bridge would be constructed during the down time. The bridge will be for pedestrians and bikers and will connect with the former mobile home park on the other side of the river.

The cost of the project is $850,000, of which $750 will be paid for by the USDA, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Fish America Foundation. Only one of the two low-water bridges will be replaced, says City Engineer Luke Pugh. The second bridge, at the center of Wiley Drive, does not limit fish passage and was not eligible for a grant. Pugh also says automobile traffic into the park will be stopped during the work. The traffic lane in the park will be closed until March.

The bridge will split access to the park in half. Wasena will be accessible from the Memorial Bridge end of the park and Smith Park will be accessible from the River's Edge end of the park. Essentially, three parks are connected by Wiley Drive.

The purpose of the low-water bridge project, according to a city news release, is to promote wildlife biodiversity along the Roanoke River through fish passage restoration. The new bridge will eliminate the concrete bottom and create a mud line for fish to progress up and downstream.

The bridge will also be constructed with larger hydraulic openings to minimize its footprint within the water. Funding is from the United States Department of Agriculture, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Fish America Foundation. For more information, please contact Luke Pugh at 853-5208.


  1. Maybe you should tell people that this post is a direct copy of a news release from the city: http://www.roanokeva.gov/DeptApps/NewsRel.nsf/AllByDate/F48B3A1F9905D9F585257647005FD373

  2. Jay: You might want to read the post again. It is significantly different from the city's press release (which my wife wrote, incidentally). I initially posted the release as-is because I didn't have time to do what was necessary to make it mine (I work full-time). I have made several calls about the release (I'm still awaiting answers to cost and whether traffic will be allowed into Smith Park) and rewrote it since the initial, short-term posting. If you are suggesting there is something wrong with running a press release from a trusted source (again, my wife), we'll just have to differ on that. The important element here is the information. You got it when I did and, at least from my perspective, there is value in that.

  3. I really don't care what it says now, who your wife is or how much you work. The fact is you published copy that was not yours and attributed it to yourself. And now you're saying that rewriting with no note that you've changed the entry makes it all better? If I hadn't left a comment, would you have even mentioned that you had done that?

    I am not "suggesting that there is something wrong with running a press release from a trusted source." What I'm saying is that you should have put a note that said something like, "Just got this press release. Will have more details later." That gets us the information quickly, but doesn't lead us to believe you wrote it.

  4. Jay: Your almost consuming rage at this little blog is puzzling. I'll explain again that rules of journalism apply to publications and news media. This is neighbors talking across the back fence; it is not a newspaper. If this item had appeared on morefront.blogspot.com or in FRONT, a source would have been cited (and it would have been re-written with more information than the original release). It is not necessary here. Let me suggest that if your line "I don't care ..." is sincere, you'll take your reading elsewhere and enjoy yourself. Life is entirely too precious to waste in a sort of festering indignation about things that don't matter. Dan

  5. No, Dan. "The rules of journalism" apply to journalists. And you're either a journalist or you're not. You either subscribe to those notions of accuracy and credit or you don't. There's no off switch.

  6. Jay: You do it your way; I'll do it mine. I'm not doing journalism 24 hours a day because it's my job, not my life. Conversation is not journalism. I use that with the magazine and the other blog, as I said, and I will continue to do it that way. If you're looking for journalism, visit morefront.com. If you just want to hear me chat, you're welcome here, but don't let your expectations run past the reality of what this is.