SALEM, Va. (WDBJ7) - Walkers and bikers on our greenways will have a safer path across the river in Salem.
This weekend the city cut the ribbon for a new greenway bridge.
But leaders say it's only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to changes and improvements for the greenway.
"Oh it's great, smells great," said Sherry Shirley, taking a break from her bike Ride. "It's beautiful. It's gonna make us wanna come out here every day."
Shirley and her husband already bike the greenway 3 to 4 times a week. But she said this bridge makes their peaceful afternoon treks even more peaceful.
"We've always dreaded crossing that bridge," she said, talking about the bridge over the Roanoke River on Eddy Drive. "...And I'm old so I'm a little wobbly crossing on the sidewalk and there's cars flying past so, this is a wonderful addition."
That seems to be the general sentiment.
"Come on through!" shouts Salem City Planner Benjamin Tripp to a passing bicyclist. "How do you like the new bridge?"
"Oh it's awesome," replied the biker. "Thank you so much!"
Tripp said the $900,000 project was part of a long term plan for the greenway, and for a good reason.
"This is the second busiest spot on the greenway in the whole Roanoke Valley," he said.
They plan to eventually do something similar down the river at Apperson Drive. But that's not all.
"Here coming up," Tripp said, "folks are gonna see a lot of new construction on the greenway."
As part of the Greenway Master plan, Tripp said they'll extend the Basin Creek trail all around Lakeside to where it connects behind G.E.
Salem will also build an extension of Hanging Rock to East Main Street.
"It includes a multi use trail that will take the greenway right into downtown," Tripp explains.
And they'll work with Roanoke County to connect at Green Hill Park from Mill Lane.
It won't happen overnight. They'll cross each bridge as they get to it, in more ways than one.
And they're likely to prevent greenway regulars like Shirley from being green with envy.
"It's definitely made Salem a more enjoyable place to do our exercise."
To see the Greenway Master Plan, follow this link: http://greenways.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/2018-Roanoke-Valley-Greenway-Plan-Final-Web.compressed.pdf