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New biggest little bridge

Annie Conway
aconway@nnbw.biz
The above rendering of the new Virginia Street Bridge depicts the finished project. The City of Reno will be holding a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday, April 12 at 11 a.m. to mark the historic occasion.
Courtesy the City of Reno |

It is a historic day in the Biggest Little City. The newly constructed Virginia Street Bridge is now open. The City of Reno marked the historic occasion with a procession and ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday, April 12.

Mayor Hillary Schieve, Former Mayor of Reno Bob Cashell, representatives from Q&D and other public officials spoke at the ceremony to commemorate the official opening of the bridge. The bridge and City Plaza are now open to pedestrians but the bridge will not be open to traffic until an undisclosed time Tuesday night.

“This is truly a monumental day in Reno,” Mayor Schieve said at the event.

Q&D Construction, Inc., a local construction firm based in Sparks and the contractor on the project, began removal of the aging bridge back in June 2015. They completed the project a month ahead of schedule with a total cost estimated just under $18.3 million.

“This is a very exciting event for Q&D and our community,” Norm Dianda, president and founder of Q&D said at the ceremony.

During the construction, Q&D had between 80 and 100 Q&D employees and subcontractors working on the project. The city also contracted Jacobs Engineering Group as the project design engineer and construction manager and Fred Gottemoeller with Bridgescape, LLC as the architect on the project.

“It is so rewarding and humbling to be part of this historic bridge and street (project),” Chris Barrett, vice president of business development and external affairs for Q&D, said in an interview prior to the event.

The City of Reno and Q&D worked closely with the local businesses throughout the project.

“It was very important to keep businesses accessible to shoppers and restaurants during the construction,” Barrett, said.

They met with the business owners and residents in the area months prior to demolition of the old bridge and the city worked with owners to create signage to help people better access their business throughout the construction.

“The business owners were supportive and engaged throughout the project,” Kerrie Koski, street program manager for the City of Reno’s Public Works department, said.

According to Barrett, one of the main concerns with the project was the amount of time it would take.

Q&D was able to complete the project ahead of schedule partly due to the accelerated method they used. They built the foundation of the bridge and the two 400-ton arches on the south side of the river. Last October, Q&D moved the arches into position by using four 100-ton hydraulic rams. The arches were moved over the course of four days at a rate of four inches per minute.

Throughout the construction, many people were drawn to the area to watch the new bridge take shape and to photograph the progress.

“People have enjoyed watching the construction,” Charla Honey, engineering manager with the City of Reno’s Public Works department, said.

Tuesday’s events included a procession prior to the speeches and ribbon cutting. The procession included the UNR marching band, a World Champion Mule Team, five historic vehicles from the National Automobile Museum, two Tesla cars and a Q&D tractor.

Various other events will be held to celebrate the historic occasion throughout the day including the lighting of the Virginia Street Bridge hosted by The Wild River Grille and Regional Alliance for Downtown at 8 p.m.

For more information about the project, visit http://vsbreno.com/.