Bypass trail under 24th at Lamar set to open this month

The railings on the pedestrian and bike bypass of 24th Street along Lamar Boulevard are almost finished. City officials say the trail should open by April 15. Photo by Pam LeBlanc/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

 

I ride my bike up Lamar Boulevard almost every day, and I’ve been eagerly (and lately, impatiently) watching the slow progress of the trail bypass of 24th Street.

For the past six weeks or so, welders have been assembling railings along the new pathway, which curves gently along the west side of Lamar, routing bicyclists and pedestrians below 24th Street and its whizzing traffic.

Then, a week or so ago, all the railings that had been built were suddenly yanked out. Had workers done something wrong? I checked with the city.

It turns out the railing removal is just part of the process, according to public information spokeswoman Courtney Black.

“When they’re assembling the railing, they have to weld it first, then they actually take it somewhere else to be galvanized,” Black says. “Then they bring it back to install it. Right now it’s in between welding and galvanization.”

Barring any bad weather or unexpected snafus, the handrails should be finished April 15. When that happens (and a few drain covers are installed), the trail will open.

The trail is part of the $9.5 million Shoal Creek Restoration project between 15th and 28th streets, which includes about 3,000 linear feet of stream bank stabilization, relocation of waste water lines from the creek channel into the Lamar Boulevard right of way, and park trail improvements. The project began in April 2014. It’s a collaborative between the Watershed Protection Department, Parks and Recreation Department, Austin Water Utility and Public Works Neighborhood Connectivity Division.

After the trail opens, the remaining work will consist primarily of invasive plant species removal and landscape maintenance, Black says.

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