Central Texas tolling agency mulls taking over management of Montopolis pedestrian and bike bridge

Proposed enhancements to the bridge include an updated entrance on the north side. The bridge is a historical landmark that was built in 1938 and closed to vehicular traffic in 2018. (Courtesy Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority)
Proposed enhancements to the bridge include an updated entrance on the north side. The bridge is a historical landmark that was built in 1938 and closed to vehicular traffic in 2018. (Courtesy Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority)

Proposed enhancements to the bridge include an updated entrance on the north side. The bridge is a historical landmark that was built in 1938 and closed to vehicular traffic in 2018. (Courtesy Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority)

As a part of its $743 million 183 South project, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority invested $25 million in shared-use paths, sidewalks and cross street connections. The project also included an effort to rehabilitate the aging Montopolis bridge, in addition to closing it to vehicular traffic in 2018.

The bridge, which runs parallel to US 183 and feeds into Montopolis Drive, received new lead paint encapsulation, a new rail along its east side and a new deck.

With the 183 South project scheduled to be complete by the end of the year, the mobility authority is considering taking over the bridge from the Texas Department of Transportation, the agency that currently owns the bridge.

CTRMA Executive Director James Bass said the TxDOT is starting to look to other transportation agencies to take over management of the bridge.

“Do they want to transfer it to the city or to the [Mobility Authority] or somebody else? Because it may not really fit well within TxDOT’s current portfolio,” Bass said during the CTRMA’s Sept. 29 board meeting.


The vision laid out by Mike Sexton, acting CTRMA director of engineering, compared the bridge to the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge in Nashville, another bridge that once served vehicular traffic but now is only open to pedestrians and bicyclists.

Proposed future improvements to the bridge included signs that would provide information about the history of East Austin and an enhanced entrance to the bridge. It also recommended more shade, seating and updated lighting.

“We went through a pretty extensive process, probably took over a year and that was a lot of coordination with TxDOT and the Texas Historical Commission, due to the historic nature of the bridge to make sure that what we were proposing wouldn't be rejected,” Sexton said.

The bridge was constructed in 1938 to replace the original bridge from the 1880s and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The proposed enhancements would cost $7.1 million, according to CTRMA documents. It also included $94,000 per year for aesthetic maintenance, $20,000 per year for routine structural inspections, $60,000 per five years for in-depth structural inspections and a to-be-determined amount for bridge maintenance.
By Benton Graham

Metro Reporter, Austin

Benton joined Community Impact Newspaper as a metro reporter covering transportation in Central Texas in June 2021. Benton's writing has appeared in Vox, The Austin Chronicle, Austonia and Reporting Texas. Originally from Minneapolis, Benton graduated from William & Mary and eventually moved to Austin in 2018.



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