After the Revolutionary War, farmers in western North Carolina and Virginia could not compete with the farmers in the eastern parts of the two states because of the cost of shipping goods overland. Rivers soon proved an alternative to roads, however. The Roanoke River was selected because it rises in western Virginia and flows 400 miles to the Albemarle Sound. Many improvements were needed to make the river navigable. The biggest project was a canal that started at Weldon and ran about nine miles upriver to bypass the rapids at present-day Roanoke Rapids. Today the canal has been turned into a park and walking trail. The middle canal locks in Roanoke Rapids have been renovated and turned into a museum.