A planned pedestrian and bicycle bridge that will connect northern and southern shores of Lady Bird Lake in East Austin will be completed by 2026, the City of Austin Transportation Department announced Monday. Located near the Longhorn Dam, the new, wishbone-shaped structure will connect to the Butler Hike and Bike Trail at Longhorn Shores, Holly Shores, and the peninsula currently connected to the latter by a smallish pedestrian bridge.
The new bridge will be a little less than half a mile long when finished. Austin Public Works and Austin Transportation extensively workshopped its design with a series of open houses and meetings conducted from 2018 through 2020. Austin Public Works entered the design phase of the project in summer 2021 after presenting five alternatives for community input and receiving public feedback favoring a wishbone-shaped bridge that connects to the shore at three points.
The project will include a shaded plaza area, lighting, benches, and other people-friendly features and a new trail underpass at Pleasant Valley Road. The total bridge length will be approximately 0.43 of a mile, and it will have an average width of 30 feet. The existing bridge that connects Holly Shores to the unnamed peninsula will be removed.
Projected cost for the bridge is $15 million. Funding comes in part from a $460 million Safety and Active Transportation Bond approved in 2020 and from other City of Austin sources. Additional funding sources are still being identified. (Perhaps, just a guess, that identification will also lead to a name for the new structure—and maybe even the peninsula.)