FAQs

What is the purpose the Virginia Street Bridge Project?

To improve flood control in downtown Reno as well as safety for the traveling public. The 1905 bridge has been an impediment to flood conveyance for many years and, due to its poor condition, was a safety problem. This project constructed a replacement structure without using a center pier, improving flood capacity and reducing the potential for debris to hang up on the bridge during high water. The replacement project also improved access to the river and continues to foster a vibrant downtown for residents and visitors.

What is the current status of the Virginia Street Bridge Project?

Virginia Street Bridge reopened to traffic on April 12, 2016.

What was the general schedule and budget for the project?

Construction began on June 1, 2015 with an anticipated duration of 12-14 months.  Q&D Construction completed the work in only 10 months thanks in part the bridge launch. The construction contract total was $18.3 million. The project ended up at a total of slightly under $18 million.

How was the project funded?

Funds for the project were provided by the Truckee River Flood Management Authority, the Federal Highway Administration, the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County, and the City of Reno.

Will pieces of the old bridge be available to the public?

Treatment for former bridge, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is described in the MOA. In order to offer remnants of the concrete structure to the public, the parties listed in the MOA would need to agree to an amendment to the MOA, which would allow for distribution of the historic property. Currently, Reno staff is in discussion with the parties of the MOA regarding the feasibility of an amendment. No decisions have been made.

What was the process for the bridge launch?

Q&D Construction pushed the arches using hydraulic jacks. The two arches moved together. Q&D installed temporary falsework across the river channel to support the arches as they moved north. Once the arches were across, they were lowered approximately two feet onto the abutments.

How much do the arches weigh, and how far were they moved?

Each arch weights approximately 400 tons. They were pushed about 175 feet.

What happened to the historic rail and the lights on the bridge?

Certain elements of the bridge, such as the historic railing and light fixtures, were spelled out in the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) among the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Sacramento District; the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Nevada Division; and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) regarding the Virginia Street Bridge Demolition and Replacement Project, dated May 18, 2015. The railing and the lights were carefully removed and re-used on the project.

Did you found anything interesting during excavation?

Nothing unanticipated was found. However, some remnants of the early water conveyance system associated with the Truckee River were discovered. A segment of the Sullivan Kelly Ditch was found between the river and the Masonic building just west of Virginia Street. This consisted of several rebar reinforced concrete structures built in 1956.

Also, a segment of the Cochrane Ditch beneath Virginia Street, immediately south of the bridge, was found. Historic research indicates the original ditch was relocated as part of the City of Reno’s Raymond I. Smith Truckee River Walk built in 1991 between Virginia and Sierra Streets near the 1927 Riverside Hotel (known today as the Riverside Artist Lofts). Remains of the buried, historic ditch consist of a concrete box culvert.