With the growth of Austin and the continued downtown residential and office development, as well as the recent completion of the Boardwalk along the south shore of Lady Bird Lake, the Trail is being used more frequently—especially the areas east of Congress Avenue. This increase in use has brought greater attention to this section of the Trail as it passes under the Congress Avenue Bridge.
The Trail Bridge at Congress Avenue will update a decades-old bridge and bring a much needed safety enhancement to the area as well as adding a new space to take in the view of Lady Bird Lake. An outdated wooden bridge links the Trail east and west of Congress Avenue under the Ann Richards Bridge. This link takes place around what is a blind and narrow passageway for Trail users and poses a threat to safety for runners or cyclists rounding that corner at speed. The new bridge will enhance pedestrian and bicyclist safety, make the area ADA-accessible, increase the width of the Trail, greatly improve the visual appeal, provide connectivity with the Waller Creek area, create a beautiful site for viewing the Congress Avenue bats, and lower the city’s maintenance costs.
A sleek and simple design will minimize visual impact around the Ann Richards Bridge, moving users safely and smoothly from east to west. An overlook on the east side of the bridge gives Trail users and bat watchers a safe place to pull off of the Trail, take in the views, and connect with Austin. The design also considers the natural function of the site area and seeks to mitigate the impact of its construction. Upon completion, the new bridge will be 14 feet wide along the north shore of Lady Bird Lake in order to better serve the growing pedestrian and bicycle use.
Freese & Nichols has completed the assessment, final design and permitting. The bridge is now under construction by Jay-Reese Contractors and is expected to be completed by summer of 2018.
Cover photo by mplstodd via Flickr
The Downtown Austin Alliance is a partnership of downtown property owners, individuals, and businesses devoted to preserving and enhancing the value and vitality of downtown Austin.