Austinites eager for greenbelt bridge project to restart

AUSTIN (KXAN) — When the MoPac Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge Project is complete, it will have a huge impact on people in South Austin. The bridge will allow pedestrians and bikers to ride or walk on the bridge to the Barton Creek Greenbelt and toward downtown.

Charles Gray and his family were one of many on Monday taking advantage of the picture-perfect day.

“This is what makes Austin so special; the greenbelt, the nature trails,” said Gray.

“It was just a beautiful day in the neighborhood, and I thought, why not go experience something quite lovely,” said Julia Link who was at the greenbelt.

But Austin’s greenbelt is now surrounded by orange. The first phase of the project has been sitting idle since November after bridge construction over the creek was postponed. Engineers have been working to redesigning the project after discovering the limestone bedrock, needed to build the bridge supports, was farther underground than they thought.

Even with the setback, that bridge should be done by the end of this year.

The second phase of the project extends the bike and pedestrian lane up to Loop 360 and includes building a bridge over that highway. That portion of the project is not expected to be complete until 2016.

“I’m a full-time cyclist,” said Katrina O’Day. “I travel bike lanes and trails throughout town, so it’d be nice to have access out to this area as well.”

The project includes plans to eventually extend hike and bike trails on the west side of MoPac. Design and construction of phase one and phase two of the Mopac Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge Project are funded by city bond money and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO).

No funding has been secured to begin the design process for phase three of the project.

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