AUSTIN(KXAN) - It's been talked about for years, but now the boardwalk on Lady Bird Lake is much closer to becoming a reality.
A boat tour Wednesday showed the progress of the project that will connect the current end of the hike and bike trail to Lakeshore Park.
City officials currently say it is dangerous to exercise on certain parts of the trail that gets close to Interstate 35. The new boardwalk, more than a third of the way complete, is hoping to clear those concerns.
"This particular link has long been an unsafe and uncomfortable detour out on the Riverside sidewalk," said David Taylor, the project manager. "Folks are right next to moving traffic moving at 40-50 miles an hour with a five foot wide sidewalk."
The steel beams are now in the ground, and new piers are popping up as the construction continues. Docks along the boardwalk will be used for recreational fishing, and will feature shaded areas to escape the Texas heat.
Over half the boardwalk will be over the water, at least six feet above the ground. Space for outdoor activities like biking and jogging have also been incorporated into the design.
"In 10 years, we will all look back and be really glad we had a part in it," said Susan Rankin with the Town Lake Trail Foundation. "We will be amazed that people ever doubted it could happen."
There have been several challenges taken into consideration for the project. The boardwalk will sit on a flood plain, forcing crews to raise the height of the trail to make way for rising waters. Saving and preserving historic trees also played a role in construction.
Despite the hurdles, officials say the project is still on track for a May 2014 completion date.
The Lady Bird boardwalk will cost the city about $20 million. Funding for the project comes from a 2010 bond approved by Austin voters.
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