Use at your own risk: Shoal Creek Trail likely to remain open during flooding

Shoal Creek Trail (KXAN Photo)
Shoal Creek Trail on Aug. 7, 2017 (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Monday’s heavy rains served as a powerful reminder of just how quickly showers can create life-threatening flooding in Central Texas.

Firefighters used ladders to rescue two people who got stranded on a grassy strip in Shoal Creek next to House Park.

Further downstream, there’s construction on the trail to connect it straight to Lady Bird Lake. It’s called the Shoal Creek Trail Gap Project, and it’s slated to wrap up by the end of this month.

During parts of Monday morning’s storms, that portion of the trail was underwater. KXAN learned anyone who uses it during rain storms will do so at their own risk.

“It’s pretty much incumbent on the park visitor to know before they go,” said city of Austin Park Ranger Program Manager LeAnn Ishcomer.

She says the city likely won’t shut Shoal Creek down during flash flood warnings. Ishcomer pointed to last June’s floods at the Barton Creek Greenbelt. She says the public has less access to the greenbelt, which makes shutting it down easier.

“For the other waterways there’s no real way we can close those trails because there’s so much access, there’s so many different access points,” she said.

Ishcomer says it’s up to trail users to be aware of conditions and make smart decision about using the trail.

“There may be sections of the trail that are washed out, so it’s important not to go into those waterways or use the trails that are washed out,” Ishcomer said. “Find an alternative.”

The city of Austin does provide a map showing crossways that are closed because of flooding.

As for Shoal Creek Trail Gap Project, project manager Darryl Haba says runners, cyclists and walkers will see no signs or flashing lights during flash floods or flash flood warnings.

He says the trail will be lit at night. The project also calls for stronger creek walls.

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