The bridge to one of Austin’s favorite outdoor spaces and dog parks, Red Bud Isle, is in need of a serious face lift, and the City of Austin wants the public’s help in deciding what that face lift looks like.
The Emmett-Shelton bridge that connects West Lake Hills to Lake Austin Boulevard is nearly 70-years-old and nearing the end of its operational life, reports Community Impact. According to the City of Austin Public Works Department, the project “is the result of increasing strains on the bridge due to flooding, population growth, the number of vehicles on the road and heightened use.”
The process is likely to be a bit slow going, though, as the city only has approximately $1.1 million of the $25 to $35 million that the project’s estimated price tag. Austin Public Works representative Courtney Black tells Community Impact that the rest of the funds will likely come from a bond election, though no date has been determined for that election.
A public open house on June 7 gave consulting engineers the opportunity to present three potential bridge options to the public that include more space for bikes and pedestrians. From Community Impact:
“The first option—a 41-foot-high bridge—would be built slightly south of the current bridge and force developers to cut into the cliffs lining the side of Redbud Trail. The second option—a 19-foot-high bridge—would be built slightly north of the current bridge. The third bridge option—also at 19 feet high—would be built further north, closer to the Lower Colorado River Authority access drive.”
Approximately 50 community members attended the first community meeting, some with strong opinions against a completely new bridge. The Austin Public Works Department will be taking feedback regarding the bridge for the next few months, then synthesizing those comments and refining the bridge options before holding another public forum in the first quarter of 2017.
After that, engineers will review the options and then present a concept to the city’s mobility committee and to Austin City Council. From there the city will finalize designs and begin to obtain the proper permits. All said and done, the design timeline is expected to run through the end of 2018.
BuildingATX will bring you updates on this project as they become available.