March 20, 2020

In response to recent events pertaining to Governor Sisolak’s mandate for business closures, the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Washoe County and Sierra Nevada Construction (SNC) now have the opportunity to accelerate construction operations on Virginia Street. Beginning Saturday, March 21, 2020, at 6 a.m., Virginia Street will be closed to traffic from Mary Street and Center Street (roundabout construction) to Mt. Rose Street.

Traffic will be detoured to Holcomb Avenue. There will be no through traffic for this section of Virginia Street, but side streets will remain open so people can access essential businesses and pick up their to-go food orders from Midtown restaurants. This closure will be effective 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week until April 17, 2020. This date is based on businesses potentially re-opening, per the Governor’s mandate. Traffic will continue to be one-way southbound on Virginia Street from Liberty Street to Center Street. After April 17, traffic between Mary Street/Center Street to Mt. Rose Street will be one-way, southbound only until construction is complete in that section.

The Project Team received inquiries from business owners asking if accelerating construction during this time was a possibility. This past week, the Project Team reached out to Midtown business owners within the project boundaries between Mt. Rose Street and the Mary Street/Center Street intersection to determine if they would support closure of Virginia Street within this section to accelerate construction activities. Business owners expressed strong support of the plan to expedite construction operations, which will result in early completion of this section, and may result in an earlier completion date for the overall Virginia Street Project.

Crews have already started the removal of the roadway’s deteriorated asphalt on Virginia Street. Beginning on Saturday, March 21, construction operations will progress to close Virginia Street between Mt. Rose Street and Mary Street/Center Street. Closing Virginia Street to all traffic in this section allows crews to remove the entire roadway at once, instead of half of the roadway at a time. These construction operations were originally scheduled for late April. SNC anticipates this may result in a five- to six-week time savings for this segment of the project.

“This is great news for all Midtown businesses,” said Rum Sugar Lime business owner Larry DeVincenzi. “The RTC and SNC reached out to us, they listened, and we support their plan to expedite the project. This project is going to be great when it’s done.”

Adjusting the schedule and resources to complete removals now, while most businesses are closed, will result in fewer impacts when businesses are able to reopen. The Project Team will work with businesses to accommodate deliveries from their vendors, customers to pick-up to go orders and safely access businesses.

Transit Detour:
RTC’s Route 1, RAPID Virginia Line, and UNR-Midtown Direct will detour northbound on Holcomb Avenue and Center Street, and southbound on Liberty Street to California Avenue to Forest Street to Mt. Rose Street. Check route and schedule information at rtcwashoe.com.

Support Midtown Businesses:
RTC and SNC very much appreciate the support and cooperation from business owners, City of Reno, and first responders to implement accelerated construction operations to deliver this project on or ahead of schedule. We encourage the community to support all businesses in Midtown during this accelerated construction period. Please contact Midtown businesses for their business hours, dining menus, pick-up and delivery options and follow social distancing and hygiene guidelines for everyone’s safety.

About the Virginia Street Project:
The Virginia Street Bus RAPID Transit Extension Project will improve safety and provide better access, enhanced transit service and improved mobility for everyone. This includes extending the RAPID Virginia Line from Midtown to the University of Nevada, Reno. The project represents an $87-million investment in our community.

The project is funded with fuel tax revenue, sales tax revenue, and federal funds.

More information:
For more information on the project, construction operations, business-support opportunities and more, please visit VirginiaStreetProject.com, text Virginia to 797979, or join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using #VirginiaStreetProject.