RENO, Nev.--It's been apart of our history for more than 100 years, but the Virginia Street Bridge is in the final months of its life. A funding agreement made Friday, sets up the bridge to be replaced this coming spring.
The start date for this construction is still up in the air, but city officials say they'll have to wait for the spring flows to reduced before starting the tear down process. One thing is for sure, now that money has been set aside the bridge will be gone by next summer.
Take a walk across the 108-year-old bridge and you'll see its problem, concrete crumbling into the river and holes in the bridges structure. The Nevada Department of Transportation recently gave it a rating of 17 out of 100.
"It has recently become more of a safety issue due to its low structural rating...we're very concerned about the age of this bridge... Its integrity," said Kerri Lanza, a civil engineer with the City or Reno.
Of course the bridge is aging but the bigger problem with this bridge is its construction. That big abutment in the middle of the river can get debris caught on it and during flood season reduce flows by up to 40 percent.
"Well the bridge does not have enough cross-sectional area, so in other words water hits the bridge and it backs up... as more water comes down, the water has no place to go so it floods out on to the flood plane which in Downtown Reno are buildings," said Jay Aldean with the Truckee River Flood Management Agency.
That won't be a problem with the new bridge, it's three feet higher than the old and it doesn't restrict the flow of water. However, the flow of traffic will see an impact for about 18 months.
"This area from about Mill street to about First street will be closed in its entirety during the bridge construction," said Lanza.
The process will take so long because its so intensive. First there is the tear-down of the old bridge, then the flood walls have to be replaced before construction even starts on the new bridge. In all, the project is expected to cost about 17-million dollars.