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Arlington Street bridges to be replaced

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 6:30 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The Arlington Street bridges have long been a prominent downtown landmark in Reno, but now they’re slated to be replaced.

They’ve stood for nearly a century and they are showing their age. Officially, the bridges have been determined structurally deficient. Now it’s their turn for replacement. It’s been in the Regional Transportation Commissions plans for some time and now the funding--a $7 million dollar grant from the federal government-- has arrived.

The bridges themselves--one to the north shore, one to the south, crossing the island which is Wingfield Park--don’t have the iconic status that the old Virginia Street bridge to the east did. Still, in their own way, these bridges and the park they span are every bit as important to the downtown area and the community at large.

“It’s a beautiful place to come and spend time,” says RTC spokesperson Lauren Ball. “So the community has given us a lot of feedback about what they would like to see when we construct these bridges.”

What emerged from those conversations was a flat, low profile structure which won’t add to that view, but won’t get in it’s way either.

The Arlington bridges have been less of a problem during Truckee floods than others, but the new design with a single pier under the north span has taken that risk into account.

But as important as the roadway is, the park itself may be a larger concern for the public and downtown revitalization plans. It is the downtown’s special events venue and there’s considerable history behind that role.

A century ago earlier versions of the present bridges brought visitors to an amusement park was called Belle Isle where they could enjoy a number of features--even a Ferris wheel.

Today’s park --with it’s amphitheater, kayak course and landscaping is the community’s primary access to its prime natural attraction--the Truckee River and, each year, it hosts some large gatherings like the River Festival and outdoor concerts during Artown. Construction of the new bridges will--apparently--leave all that intact.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2024.

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