Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect cost estimates and the project timeline.

Georgetown City Council members selected a design for the Austin Avenue pedestrian bridge during a March 26 workshop meeting.

What you need to know

Engineering consultants presented three design concepts for the pedestrian bridge—which will cross over the San Gabriel River next to the vehicular bridge—to City Council in August.

Six of the seven council members said they preferred Concept 2 during the March 26 meeting. Officials expect the bridge, which will feature cables on each side, will cost around $12.7 million to build.

To ensure the pedestrian bridge project is fully funded, Assistant City Manager Nick Woolery said the city could use roughly $2.4 million in funds received from extraterritorial jurisdiction zones. ETJ municipal utility districts pay fees to the city to help support local infrastructure projects, Woolery said.

“We’re not building this bridge, this pedestrian bridge, for any of us,” Georgetown resident Liz Weaver said to City Council. “We're building it for our grandchildren. You have an opportunity here to either build something that crosses the river from point A to point B ... or you have the option to build something where people walk out on it at night and go, ‘Wow, this is so cool.’”

Council members emphasized that they wanted to create something “special” that would attract people to the city.

Council member Ben Stewart said Concept 2 would “be one of those cornerstones of Georgetown that is continuing the attraction that brings people here and continues the dynamo that we've got.”

Another viewpoint

Council member Mike Triggs, who favored Concept 1, said it was “very irresponsible” to spend so much money on the pedestrian bridge during “tough economic times.” City officials estimated Concept 1 would cost $9.5 million to build.

Triggs said the city should focus on funding things like traffic lights at busy intersections, such as the intersection of CR 245 and Williams Drive.

“We've asked for lights there, and I've been told I had to wait a year because it wasn't in the budget; we don't have the money for it,” Triggs said. “When is this stuff all going to end, if you can't find money for lights at an intersection that's dangerous? And that's just a minuscule amount compared to this [project].”

Next steps

City Council will discuss kicking off a full design of the pedestrian bridge during the April 4 meeting, Woolery said. Construction is expected to last from late 2025-early 2027.

The city is also planning to improve the existing vehicular bridge by widening lanes, installing crash-test guardrails and more. The bridge rehabilitation project will begin this summer and end in late 2025, Woolery said.

"To improve safety at the intersection of Austin Avenue and San Gabriel Boulevard, which is located in between the two bridges, a roundabout intersection is being designed and will be incorporated into one of the bridge projects to minimize construction impacts to residents and people driving through this area," Woolery said in a statement.