The Austin City Council approved a $21.7 million construction contract for the Lady Bird Lake boardwalk today.
The project, largely funded via a bond election back in 2010, will close a 1.1-mile gap in the hike and bike trail around Lady Bird Lake with a boardwalk that's both partially over land and over water.
To help allay costs, which were initially pegged at $17.4 million, the city will reallocate $5.8 million from the 2010 Bond Street Reconstruction Program. The city will also receive a $3 million donation from the Trail Foundation, a trail advocacy group.
Susan Rankin is the executive director of the Trail Foundation. “We’re really excited that the city will finally complete the trail as it was originally envisioned by Lady Bird and her beautification committee in the 1970s,” she tells KUT News.
Since 2007, the Trail Foundation has been working to get the Lady Bird Lake boardwalk project developed, designed and funded. So why the five-year wait? Rankin says that among other processes and reviews, it took a while to get the project permitted.
“This is a really important project for the City of Austin and it’s a good thing that this had a lot of review and conversation amongst the public and the city and the designers and the engineer people,” Rankin says. “It’s going to make a huge difference to thousands of people that will use it every day.”
Construction for the boardwalk is expected to begin in the coming months and could be done by early 2014.