AUSTIN (KXAN) — The City of Austin is looking at a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge crossing over Lady Bird Lake near Longhorn Dam. City officials said the goal behind the new crossing is to improve safety along the jammed-up sidewalk on Pleasant Valley Road.
“That bridge, the dam, is really narrow,” said Tania Cutting, a nearby east Austin homeowner who frequently travels along the current crossing.
In July, the city started a preliminary engineering study. It’s estimated to cost $500,000 and is being funded by the city’s transportation department and Public Works.
“I mean essentially it’s one person wide,” she said. “So, if you have a bike, there’s people waiting on one end, and there’s people waiting on the other end. There’s no way to pass in the middle. It’s very close to traffic and if you have dogs it’s very challenging.”
With the news of a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge crossing in the works, Cutting is thrilled.
“I think in the long-term, it’s a piece of infrastructure this side of Austin really needs,” she said. “I think it’s the best thing since sliced bread.”
However, Cutting thinks with the recent flooding the dam operations should be the priority.
“Money on infrastructure, and especially really important infrastructure like that dam is critical, especially in a flood-prone area like Austin,” Cutting said.
She added, “If that dam was to fail, we would be in an awful amount of trouble.”
The Longhorn Dam, a staple in Austin, was constructed in 1960 to form a pond for the Holly Street Power Plant. The power plant is gone, but the pond, now Lady Bird Lake remains. The dam’s purpose is keeping a constant level of water at the lake.