'Obsolete' Barton Springs Road bridge gets engineering funding boost

The Barton Springs Road Bridge is set to receive needed upgrades.

The Barton Springs Road Bridge is set to receive needed upgrades.

The main bridge to Zilker Park needs to be repaired or replaced, and the Austin City Council is dedicating more funds to the project.

The Barton Springs Road Bridge, which traverses Barton Creek, will receive $692,387 additional dollars for engineering after City Council voted Thursday to increase the project budget. The contract amount now totals $1.05 million.

The additional funding will support the second phase of the engineering for the project—which will look at the load capacity of the bridge, assess roadway needs and options for repairing or replacing the bridge in addition to the design of replacement concepts.

Findings from Phase 1 determined the overall bridge was in fair condition, but the deck and supporting columns were deteriorating. Because of that, preserving the existing structure is not a viable option, according to City Council documents.

A third engineering phase may require further authorization from council and will entail the full vetting of repair and replacement options.

Council Member Ann Kitchen, who serves District 5, requested staff return with a briefing on how the improved bridge structure would affect Zilker Park. Kitchen said she did not want the city to increase the size of the bridge if it brings more traffic to the park.
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