AUSTIN (KXAN) –The Barton Springs Bridge will have its 100th birthday in a few years. The bridge is in OK condition at the moment but, to ensure the safety of pedestrians and vehicles in the future, the city is exploring a few options to restore the iconic bridge and guarantee its longevity.

In 2020, Austinites approved funding to evaluate the bridge so the city staff could begin working on plans to improve the existing structure. The approval came a couple of years after the structure was ranked among the top five bridges in Austin in the most need of rehabilitation.

According to Austin Public Works, the bridge ultimately needs to be fixed or replaced to ensure the safety of pedestrians and, of course, improve the flow of traffic over the bridge.

“I’m sure y’all have been down there on ACL weekend, and it’s a narrow point that is difficult for pedestrians and cars to interact,” Eric Bailey, Assistant Director for Austin Public Works, said.

There are a few options the city is considering, but all the plans fall under two categories: rehabilitate or complete replacement.

Though nothing is set in stone, the Public Works Office is recommending that the bridge is completely replaced. Bailey said this route maximizes views, enhances trails underneath the bridge and actually costs 40% less than the rehabilitation model.

Before construction can begin, the department will have a public engagement hearing early next year, then present to the Texas Historical Commission in Spring 2023 and brief the City Council on plans over the Summer. The preliminary phase of the planning process is expected to conclude around this time next year.

The other five bridges that Public Works identified in 2018 as Austin’s most dangerous included:

  • Redbud Trail/Emmett Shelton bridge over Lady Bird Lake
  • Delwau Lane bridge over Boggy Creek
  • William Cannon Drive Railroad Overpass
  • Slaughter Lane Railroad Overpass

A Public Works official said Redbud has secured funding and is in the design phase. The Delwau Lane has not received funding for rehabilitation yet, nor has the Slaughter Lane Railroad Overpass.

William Cannon actually had a failure on the road and is now receiving emergency care. The damage was not catastrophic, and engineers were able to address the issues. No one was injured, according to Austin Public Works.