AUSTIN (KXAN) - Excavation on the entrance shaft for the Waller Creek Tunnel began early Wednesday morning between 4th and 5th Streets just West of I-35. A wooden fence surrounds a one block area where the digging is taking place.
The 30-foot wide tunnel will run about 70 feet under Waller Creek all the way to Lady Bird Lake, and will help control flood waters during torrential rains on the unpredictable Waller Creek.
"We've been waiting for that to finally come through and take place," said Roland Cantu.
Cantu is a manager for Iron Works Barbecue at Ceasar Chavez and Red River. The eatery has been an Austin staple for more than 30 years, and sits on the banks of Waller Creek.
"We've heard a lot of different projects that were supposed to come down here and happen," he said. "And then when the high tech boom came (and went)...washed away a lot of plans. And now it looks like there are some pretty strong, firm plans that are going to go through. So, we're excited to see what's going to happen down here."
The tunnel should be completed the end of 2014, and will pave the way for 28 acres of development along Waller Creek from Waterloo Park all the way to Lady Bird Lake. It will be the largest urban creek development project in the country. While some may compare it to San Antonio's Riverwalk , the City of Austin says this project will be unique.
"I think it would be a lot better for business," Cantu said.
"Put some flowers in here or something," said Austinite Louis Meeks. "Make it look more presentable."
Bike paths, walk ways, special lights and art are all ideas for the area. But, a finalized plan is not yet complete. The Waller Creek Conservancy is kicking off an international design competition next month . A finalized design will be chosen May of 2012. The Conservancy will work closely with the winning design team and city officials at that time to craft policies that support the implementation of the selected concept.
The Waller Creek tunnel should be completed by the end of 2014, with the revitalization of Waller Creek to happen soon after.
Both sides rested Wednesday afternoon in the civil trial to decide whether embattled District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg should be removed from office. The judge said he'll decide the case this afternoon.
County commissioners voted Tuesday to approve the buyout of 23 homes in the Timber Creek neighborhood.
Willie Nelson's nine-hole golf course in Briarcliff is up for sale and the asking price is $3 million, according to a local real estate website.
Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pontiff who won hearts and headlines with his humility and common touch, was named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2013.
When Dawn Erin decided to seek health coverage for the first time in two decades, she was prepared for the red-tape run-around.
An historic early December cold spell is slowly waning, but temperatures will remain well below average for a couple more days.