AUSTIN (KXAN) — The historic rains from last May and October have delayed crews in completing the Shoal Creek Restoration Project, but the City of Austin said it expects to have everything wrapped up by this Summer.
“There were some delays because of the historic we weather and the storms we’ve had, but the previous few months of dry weather has allowed crews to make steady progress and we’re moving along,” said Clayton Ernst with the Watershed Protection Department.
The Shoal Creek Restoration Project primary goal is to reduce and improve erosion in the park on the Shoal Creek Corridor between 15 and 28 St. Crews have also installed an extended bike path and have created more vegetation.
“We’ve built a lot of boulder block walls and mechanically stabilized soil slopes in the creek,” said Ernst. “A lot we’ve built around heritage trees, which were in danger of falling into the creek.”
Shoal Creek is dry most of the year, but when the heavy rains hit, it can become a raging river. The city said they’ve put up huge boulders to help keep the roots in place.
“We’ve really put a lot of thought into this project design to make it resilient against the flooding that we know occur on Shoal Creek Periodically,” said Ernst. “We’re doing our best to make sure that we built it per plan and if it’s built per plan, we’re pretty confident that we’re not going to have to come back and rebuild anything.”
Part of the plan includes reducing pollutants from storm run off from going into the creek.
“Shoal Creek is an urban creek so it’s plagued historically with high levels of pollutants,” said Ernst. “We’ve put in features that will improve water quality in Shoal Creek , such as rain gardens and bio filtration meadows.”
The city said it’s put in a bio filtration pond and rain meadows and vegetated swales in Pease Park to help with the storm water run off.
A feature many users will notice is the new paved trail and an addition of a new bike-way under the 24 St. Bridge along Lamar. Ernst said they plan on adding ground lights on the bike path.
The $6 million project is currently on budget, despite the delay, but Ernst said that could change in the coming months.