The Trail Bridge at Congress Avenue Sponsorship Information
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 An outdated wooden bridge links the Trail east and west of Congress Avenue under the Ann Richards Bridge.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 and will cost approximately $2.5 million.
The Butler Trail sees over 2.6 million visits annually. The Trail is a destination not only for Austinites, but also for Central Texans and visitors. As Austin grows, we will ensure sustainable Trail facilities keep up with the pace. Unique to this project, there is a 1:1 match up to $1.25 million, generously donated by Robert F. Smith, CEO of Vista Equity Partners.
Giving to this enhancement will allow the donor to demonstrate a commitment to the entire Trail community and all of Austin.