East Austin construction project to ease dangerous stretch of roadway

Construction of the Longhorn Dam is scheduled to begin this month. It promises improved safety for pedestrians and cyclists and introduces a new phase for the hiking and cycling route.

Over the next six months, Austin Transportation will be making a number of changes to the causeway that connects vehicle traffic along Pleasant Valley Road from Canterbury Street in East Austin to Elmont Drive in southeast Austin. Currently, the bridge also connects the north and south sides of the Butler Hike and Bike Trail over Lady Bird Lake.

According to a City of Austin publication, this section of Pleasant Valley is considered a “badly broken road,” and many of the improvements, including a physical barrier between the lanes, are intended to help alleviate some of these problems.

The scope of work of the project includes:

  • Reconfiguration of the street space over the bridge into a single lane north and two lanes south between the South Warfield entrance and Canterbury Street

  • several new dedicated left turn lanes

  • A new physical separation between north and south lanes in most of the project area to minimize head-on collisions

  • A 12 foot shared path will be built on the west side of South Pleasant Valley Road and an 8 foot shared path will be built on the east side

  • A new concrete path connects the north lane to Cesar Chavez Street

  • a new concrete path connection to the Kreigfeld

This new improvement project is designed to provide “short term” safety benefits to Austin residents while work begins on the anticipated “wishbone” portion of the Butler Hike and Trail. This exciting $ 12.6 million project will connect the north side of the trail to the south side via a wishbone-shaped bicycle and pedestrian bridge. Once the wishbone is done, it actually crosses the water and bypasses the Longhorn Dam entirely.

The wishbone, one of five design options, was overwhelmingly selected in a survey in summer 2019 with 41 percent of the votes. Funding for this project was approved in November 2020 under proposal B.

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