Virginia Street Bridge to Stand Another Year

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RENO, NV - The Virginia Street Bridge will stand for another year. The city of Reno has announced because permits have not been approved, it's delaying demolition of the historic bridge.

The city is waiting on approval from the Army Corps of Engineers. In order for the old bridge to be torn down and a new one built, a lot of work has to be done in the riverbed. The Army Corps of Engineers controls that area and wants to make sure that work is done with as little water pollution as possible.

It's a landmark right in the middle of Reno, but it's time for it to go.

"This existing bridge is about 110 years old now and its structural sufficiency is low," said Kerri Lanza, Civil Engineer for the city of Reno.

The Virginia Street Bridge has been slated to be torn down for years, but it will be another year until that actually happens.

"We probably will not enter the river this year due to not having that permitting," said Lanza.

That permitting is from the Army Corps of Engineers, which is in charge of regulating waterways and the construction around them. This project will adapt flood walls and at the same time, potentially pollute the river.

"Under the Clean Water Act, section 404, we do have responsibilities for looking at projects that will potentially have an adverse impact on waters in the United States," said Christine Hansen with the Army Corps of Engineers.

They have to consider several factors. Not only water quality, but endangered species, historic properties, and flood planes. It's in no way a simple thing to approve.

"There have been delays that have risen that have caused delays in the review of the project," said Hansen.

Even if the project were approved today, construction would still be delayed a year. The city has to put the project out for bid, then start purchasing materials while doing a lot of prep work. Finally, they have to wait for low water to start construction.

"We would anticipate that we would be able to get in the river late spring next year when the flows are low enough that the contractor can shift around and move easily in the river," said Lanza.

Once construction does actually start, it will take 12-18 months to complete. That means during that time, there will be detours in place that direct people around the area via Sierra Street and Center Street.