AUSTIN (KXAN) — One part of Austin’s Hike and Bike Trail will be closed off this week as Austin Energy works on electrical lines in East Austin as part of the ongoing work to decommission the Holly Power Plant. The trail through Metz Park will be blocked off during this time.
Officials say it will not be safe for pedestrians to cross under the work trucks in the area as they pull wires. The project is expected to take about four days, and the trail is expected to reopen Jan. 9. There will be signs and barricades alerting anyone on the trail about the closures.
“We’re doing it for aesthetic reasons as well,” said Austin Energy spokesperson Carlos Cordova. “Some of these old structures are no longer needed, so they’re going to be coming down. Improve the overall look of the park and the area.”
Crews finished demolishing parts of the Holly Power Plant last year. This year they are focusing on an environmental study to see how the land is impacted, because eventually some of the area will be open to the public.
Workers have been collecting soil samples from the site to test for contaminants, and to make sure the land is safe before they open it for the public to use.
The city’s master plan for Holly Shores calls for connecting streets and parkland around the Austin Energy site, as well as improving park facilities. But they are also looking at adding a performing arts center, a playground, a picnic garden and a place to launch boats.
More people are already using this part of the trail. Since the boardwalk opened in June, about 15,000 people now use the east side on a regular basis. The 1.2-mile bridge helped complete the trail all the way around the lake.