AUSTIN (KXAN) — There’s about to be a new spot for walkers and cyclists in east Austin. It’s called the Mokan Trail.

The mile-and-a-half-long trail is being built in space surrounding a former railroad track: the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad. That’s where “Mokan” comes from — from shortened parts of the state names.

The trail would start at Shady Lane behind the Trailhead Apartments and extend to the bike path on Pedernales Street.

The Pedernales Street connection would eventually tie into the Green Line Rail Pleasant Valley transfer station. The Shady Lane start will provide a connection to the Southern Walnut Creek Trail.

Planned route for the Mokan Trail in east Austin
Planned route for the Mokan Trail in east Austin

Half of it is being built through private development.

“A developer… is building this new connection connecting the existing trail from under Airport Boulevard to Springdale Road,” explained Emily Smith, who is with the city’s public works department. Smith said the housing is on a lot east of Springdale Road and west of Airport Boulevard.

The section of Mokan Trail the developer built behind the Trailhead Apartments. (KXAN Photo/Candy Rodriguez)
The section of Mokan Trail the developer built behind the Trailhead Apartments. (KXAN Photo/Candy Rodriguez)

The other half, the section from Springdale Road to North Pleasant Valley Road, will be constructed by the city through the Urban Trails Program.

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, has helped secure $1 million in community project funding to get the work started. City officials said the federal dollars will cover the cost of the preliminary engineering report, which just kicked off last week. The money will also contribute toward the design of the trail.

The city will match the rest using funds from the 2020 mobility bond. Doggett said this trail is critical for those living on the east side.

“East Austin didn’t have the trail complexes that were in the west. This provides a vital link that will connect to traditional places for gathering, Govalle Park and Plaza Saltillo, and really the lake system that runs around Lady Bird Lake,” Doggett said.

The city doesn’t know exactly how much money it will need to finish the project. A preliminary engineering report should be done by the spring. City leaders said construction is expected to start in the spring of 2025 and could wrap up by summer of 2026 depending on funding.