Austin approves $6M more to keep Waller Creek tunnel project moving

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Construction on parts of the Waller Creek Flood Control Tunnel came to a halt in April of last year, but this week the city council voted to spend another $6 million on the project.

Cranes are moving again at a construction site along 12th Street near Red River. The tunnel is said to be the savior of much of Austin’s flood problems. The work stopped when the city realized the final project would block the view of the Capitol.

“It’s something we inherited, we just need to get it finished and moved on,” said city council member Don Zimmerman.

Zimmerman and other new council members were not the ones who approved the plan, but it is their problem now.  They agreed to pay $5.6 million to get the project back moving.

“The whole project has ballooned from $25 million to over a $150 million,” said Zimmerman.

Back on Memorial Day, the massive tunnel to the lake diverted some water, and Waller Creek did not flood south of 12th Street.

“And it did work as designed apparently, just in the past month. So that’s encouraging news,” said Zimmerman.

With no end date set as of now, workers at least will continue to make progress on this massive flood project. Legal teams from the city and the contractors continue to work out damages for the stalled construction.

Officials discovered last year the Waller Creek intake facility at Waterloo Park violates state law. There are 30 Capitol View corridors throughout the city which regulate how high structures can be built to protect views of the Capitol from different parts of the city. The intake facility falls into one of those. City council members said the building needed to be redesigned.

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