Northwest Roanoke residents reaching boiling point over road construction

Both Cove Road and 10th Street have been unpaved for months

By Shayne Dwyer - Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - Patience is getting thinner by the day as neighbors in northwest Roanoke grow more frustrated with road construction. On Tuesday night, people showed up for a town hall to talk about Cove Road and Tenth Street.

When you see what people have been dealing with for months now, it's easy to see where they're coming from.A  VDOT project, 10th Street remains unpaved, and many segments are made up of purely dirt or rock. Cove Road, a city project, plagues drivers with problems as they drive through it daily. But the city and VDOT say they're complex problems and require complex solutions which take time.

In northwest Roanoke, it's a game of strategy these days. Construction here, turn around there, and the people who live here are hitting their edge.

"There are so many things wrong with this project, we would need hours to go over them and truthfully the city doesn't want to hear that," 10th Street resident Rick Williams said.

On Tuesday night Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea hosted a town hall on the two projects Progress is slow going, which was expected, but some residents say they feel like the project has stalled out all together.

"I came here tonight because it's like we wanted answers, we left with no answers," Cove Road resident Janis Wade said.

Both Cove Road and 10th Street required complete overhauls and serious utility work underneath the road's surface. But she and others feel their northwest Roanoke addresses make them less than in the eyes of the city, and therefore further down the ladder of importance.

"We deserve the same treatment in the city as every other area, we should not have to have a meeting to ask when is a street getting paved," Wade said.

The city said temporary, or pavings that aren't final, are part of the process. Mark Jamison with the city said he's unable to give a block by block estimate of when paving will be completed on Cove, other than the fact that the contract with the construction company requires it to all be complete by June. Mayor Lea, who lives in Northwest Roanoke, said he understands the frustrations.

"I feel our city is committed to doing what they can to correct these things, and it's not about what side of the city you live in, it's about what's urgent, what do we need to do right now," Lea said.

The 10th Street project is a two part project, and the first part, which intersects with Orange Avenue was completed before the second part began. The second part, which runs from north of Orange Avenue, underneath Interstate 581, and ends at Williamson Road has left the road torn up for months. It's less than a mile long, but required five times that length of utility work.

"But now that we've completed much of the utility work, we've been in the ground, I think things will start to move at a better pace and I think conditions will improve as we head into the spring and summer months," Virginia Department of Transportation spokesman Jason Bond said.

Many people also expressed frustration with damage to their cars from busted tires and loose debris on the road. They asked the city who would pay for the damage and were told that was handled by a third party assessor. Many residents along the corridor were also frustrated that they didn't know about the town hall meeting at all.


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