Butler Trail detour begins as crews install mini-boardwalk

Users of the Butler Hike and Bike Trail navigate the section of trail beneath the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge in March 2018. Starting Wednesday, the trail will be detoured up to Congress Avenue as crews install a new mini boardwalk. AMANDA VOISARD / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

A section of the Butler Hike and Bike Trail beneath the north end of the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge will close Wednesday for 12 days while crews demolish the old wooden bridge and install a new 14-foot-wide pathway.

Trail users can follow a detour up to Congress Avenue and around the construction during the closure. The trail, part of the 10-mile loop around Lady Bird Lake, will reopen Monday, May 21, according to a press release from The Trail Foundation.

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Construction began in March week to replace the narrow, more than 40-year-old existing structure with a sleek 172-foot “mini-boardwalk” that will take users out over the water. The privately funded project also includes a viewing platform where people can rest, watch the bats emerge during summer months or just take in the sights.

The new concrete and steel bridge is designed improve safety at a dangerous bottleneck on the trail, according to The Trail Foundation official.

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Construction began in March on the new stretch of trail. Photo by Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman

Robert F. Smith, 55, founder of Austin-based private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, donated $1.25 million to kick-start the $2.5-million project. The rest of the project’s money, which has already been raised, comes from private donations, according to Trail Foundation officials.

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The Trail Foundation is collaborating with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department on the project. Barring any construction delays, the new bridge under Congress Avenue should open by June, Anderson said.

 


Corrects to indicate Robert Smith is founder of Vista Equity Partners.