Reno City Council Chooses Design for Virginia Street Bridge


Virginia Street Bridge Project

The Pony Truss bridge design.

The Reno City Council chose a design for the new Virginia Street bridge at a City Council meeting yesterday.

The "Pony Truss" bridge is a stand-still structure with seven feet high, curved railings. It's estimated to cost $18 million to construct and maintain over the next 75 years.

The design was chosen from five options. Three were static bridges and two were moveable. The moveable bridges were deemed too expensive by the City Council. According to Jacobs Engingeering, the company heading the project, those who turned out to their public comment sessions agreed.

On average, the two moveable bridges cost nearly $50 million to construct and maintain over 75 years, respectively.

Since the Pony Truss bridge does not move, it means the sidewalks on either side of the bridge will have to be raised three feet to help with flood control. This has some residents and business owners concerned about the possible impact that may have on historical buildings nearby.

"Much as we've all accepted the current bridge needs to come down, I think of my mother who said don't add insult to injury," Sharon Honig-Bear with the Reno Historical Preservation Society said. "We can add the insult by not even respecting the historical heart around it."

Regardless, the city still needs to find funding for the project. One possible support line is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. According to a memo read at the City Council meeting yesterday, the Senator has asked top officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to visit Reno to work onthe project.

If they are able to secure funds soon, Bryan Gant with Jacobs Engineering says it would take two years before construction could begin. The project still needs to go through an eco-check and is currently required to undergo a strict permit process by the Army Corps.