ROANOKE, a river of the South Atlantic Slope, U.S.A. With the Staunton, which rises in the Appalachian Valley in southwestern Virginia, it constitutes one river, and, flowing in a general south-easterly direction, crosses the boundary between Virginia and North Carolina just above the Fall Line and discharges into Albemarle Sound. It is nearly 400 m. long, with a drainage area of 9237 sq. m. The United States government adopted a project in 1871 for clearing a channel with a minimum depth of 5 ft. at low water from its mouth to Weldon, a distance of 129 m., and in 1909, when the project was 80% completed, vessels drawing 4 ft. of water could ascend at low stages nearly to Weldon. The main river and its principal tributary, the Dan, are also navigable, for many miles above the Fall Line, by pole boats. In 1829 the Weldon Canal, 12 m. long, was opened to afford a passage around the falls, but it was abandoned in 1850.
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