Panel Decides to Tear Down Virginia Street Bridge

A historic downtown Reno bridge should be torn down and replaced with a new bridge to enhance Truckee River flood control efforts, a coalition of local officials decided.

The Flood Project Coordinating Committee's action Friday concerning the 102-year-old Virginia Street bridge followed a similar decision last month by the Reno City Council.

The concrete, double-arched bridge acts as a bottleneck during
floods, causing water to spread through the downtown.

The bridge became legendary after it was portrayed by Hollywood
and the news media as the site where people tossed wedding rings
into the Truckee after securing divorces at the nearby courthouse,
state Archivist Guy Rocha said.

While the practice may have started as a publicity stunt when Reno was the nation's divorce capital, there's evidence that some divorcees threw rings into the river from it, he said.

"This (bridge) was the icon for 20th century Reno that symbolized Reno to the nation," Rocha told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

The flood committee, composed of officials from Reno, Sparks and
Washoe County, earlier bowed to the wishes of historic
preservationists who sought to save the structure.

But the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last month called the feasibility of restoring the bridge into question.

The agency concluded logs, branches and other debris would still
jam below a restored bridge, creating a dam that adds to flooding
problems downtown.

Restoring the bridge also would prove more expensive, estimated