Design work underway for Bergstrom Spur, trail would transform abandoned railroad track

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The work to transform an abandoned railroad track in south Austin into a walking trail is underway.

The roughly 6.5-mile-long Bergstrom Spur would run from south Austin starting at Vinson Drive east through South Congress Avenue and Todd Lane all the way to U.S Highway 183 near the Austin Bergstrom International Airport.

The proposed trail is divided up into three segments: western, central and eastern. The western segment — around a mile — stretches from Vinson Drive to South Congress Avenue. From there, the central segment runs from South Congress Avenue to Todd Lane. Then the eastern segment — the longest at around three and a half miles — is from Todd Lane to U.S. Highway 183.

At present, Katie Wettick with the City of Austin’s Public Works Department’s Urban Trail Program said they are close to 30% of the design phase for the western and central segments. The eastern segment will take a little longer to design as there are some infrastructure challenges along that section.

Design plans include incorporating art along the trails and creating dual-track trails which Wettick describes as a trail, “Where you know we’d have one path for people on bikes or anyone moving quicker and one path for people on foot, people with strollers, people going a little slower.”

While the work is being done in parts and once the trail is finished, it’ll act as one cohesive path. It’s an effort being explored across the country.

“How do we create a nation connected by trails so everyone, everywhere has access,” said Brandi Horton with the Rails To Trails Conservancy.

The conservancy reports there are 40 former rails that have been transformed into trails across the state providing over 300 miles of trail with 19 other projects similar to the Bergstrom Spur underway.

“It’s great to be able to take this not used space and turn it into something that a lot of people will be using to safely get where they are going,” Wettick said.

Once they reach 60% in the design phase for the western and central segments, they will present the proposal to the public. They expect that to happen this summer. The design phase is estimated to cost around $4 million and once that phase is complete, Wettick said they will have a better idea of how much the trail will cost.

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