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Project Update

Virginia Street BRT, Nevada, US [free access]

November 1, 2019

Developer: Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Washoe County


Project description: Extension of the existing bus rapid transit (BRT) service in the Virginia Street corridor in Reno, Nevada.


Background: The Virginia Street BRT extension project will expand BRT service for 2.9 km (1.8 miles) from the existing terminus in downtown Reno to the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). The project includes implementing upgrades on 2.25 km (1.4 miles) of the existing BRT service from the Midtown District to downtown Reno south. The scope of work also includes implementation of off-vehicle fare collection, prioritisation of traffic signal installation, and implementation of sidewalk and roadway improvement projects.


In October 2015, the RTC designated the project as the locally preferred alternative (LPA). The LPA was incorporated into the agency’s long-range transportation plan in February 2016. The project’s environmental review was completed in spring 2018 and the route design was finalised in December 2018.


Phase One: The first phase of the project included the removal of poles obstructing sidewalks between Liberty Street and Plumb Lane. Work on this phase ended in February 2019.


Phase Two: This phase commenced in June 2019. Sierra Nevada Construction (SNC) was contracted to construct five bus stations, widen sidewalks in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 1990, plant more than 300 trees, repave the roadway, remove the centre turn lane, put in a raised median, and add in roundabouts and left-turn lanes at key intersections.


Construction is expected to conclude in December 2020, with revenue service expected to commence shortly.


Funding: The total project cost is estimated to be USD80 million. A combination of RTC Fuel Tax revenues and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grants will finance the project.


In October 2019, the FTA allocated USD40.4 million through its Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program for the project.


Rolling stock: The project entails the procurement of two additional 18.3-metre (60-foot) electric articulated buses.


Service frequency: Buses will ply every 10 minutes during weekday peak periods, every 15 minutes during weekday off-peak periods, and every 15 minutes on weekday evenings. On weekends, service is planned to operate every 12 minutes.


Recent developments: