Images are now available of the envisioned boardwalk to complete the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake. With the The Trail Foundation's lakeside groundbreaking in August, construction is now underway.
As those who frequent the trail are aware, the southern portion of the trail currently brings joggers, bikers and pedestrians to an abrupt halt — pathfinders must veer from the scenic lakeside and navigate the busy sidewalks along the road instead.
In order to traverse the environment of this disconnected segment, over half the route will be a boardwalk structure elevated six feet above the water, while the remaining portion of the trail will be on land. The new boardwalk will begin near the Austin American-Statesman office on the south side of the lake and will continue under I-35.
Accredited to the Parks Department employee Butch Smith’s original concept, the boardwalk will also feature key design improvements, including LED lighting in hand rails, dashed centerline dividers and regulatory signs. Several rest areas will be strategically incorporated into the boardwalk to allow users the opportunity to step out of the traffic flow.
Construction of the linking segment is estimated to successfully integrate with the existing 10.5-mile loop in 2013. Its completion will discourage runners, walkers and bikers from using metropolitan sidewalks and simultaneously link east side communities to downtown Austin.
Plus, the boardwalk will give the trail that extra added sense of wholeness. There's just something satisfying about a completed loop that comes from always moving forward and ending up where you started.