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With the growth of Austin, and 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—specifically, 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 An outdated wooden bridge links the Trail east and west of Congress Avenue under the Ann Richards Bridge.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 from which to view the Congress Avenue bats; and lower the city’s maintenance costs.
A sleek and simple design is proposed to minimize visual impact around the Ann Richards Bridge, as well as move 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 here. 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 already completed the assessment of phase and have been released to do final design and permitting. The Trail Bridge at Congress Avenue is expected to be completed in two years.
“I am thrilled to support the construction of the new Trail Bridge at Congress Avenue, and I’m excited to work with TTF to bring this important project to fruition,” lead donor Robert Smith said. “Thousands of us who are lucky to call Austin home, and the many visitors to this city, use the Butler Trail at Lady Bird Lake every single day. An investment in the Trail is an investment in Austin’s future—one that will keep our community’s most cherished outdoor asset safe, accessible and enjoyable for many years to come.”
Unique to this project, there is a 1:1 match up to $1.25 million, generously donated by Robert F. Smith. For information on how to contribute to TTF’s next legacy project, please contact Rachel Rountree.*
Robert F. Smith
Luci Baines Johnson & Ian Turpin
Jonna and Jill Foundation
René & Ron Albee
Heather Keating & Griffin Davis
Sheridan & Perry Lorenz
Ellen & Steven Miura
Friends and Family of Warren Walters
ECG Foundation and Mary & Howard Yancy
The Stahl Family Foundation
The Corbett Family Charitable Foundation
*Minimum donation for permanent onsite recognition is $25,000.