AUSTIN (KXAN) — Documents affiliated with the Texas Department of Transportation’s I-35 downtown expansion show the state agency plans to take over 1.2 acres of land at the Waller Beach Park off Lady Bird Lake.
The acreage will be used for approximately six years and will serve as a construction staging and water access point, per TxDOT’s I-35 environmental impact statement draft. TxDOT officials said any land used from Waller Beach Park will have to be replaced with lands “of equal value, location, and usefulness.”
Waller Beach is a 28-acre park northwest of the I-35 bridge over Lady Bird Lake. It’s a popular downtown recreation site primarily used by joggers and walkers, cyclists, kayakers and canoers.
As part of the proposed takeover, the park would need to create a trail detour for those looping Lady Bird Lake via the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail. Immediate impacts include the loss of access to one boat ramp, a picnic table, two parking areas and the trail near Waller Beach, per documents.
Under TxDOT’s preferred project proposal, approximately 1,200 feet of the park would be used for temporary construction uses. However, roughly 600 feet would be taken for permanent use to host future TxDOT construction and maintenance efforts on the project.
TxDOT’s I-35 Capital Express Central Project is an eight-mile project stretch running from I-35 from US 290 East to SH 71 and Ben White Boulevard. To learn more about the project proposal, click here.