Safety of footbridge at Hurst Creek called into question

Lakeway City Council discussed May 3 the need to improve a Hurst Creek footbridge as part of an overall discussion of needed capital improvements. (Greg Perliski/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lakeway City Council discussed May 3 the need to improve a Hurst Creek footbridge as part of an overall discussion of needed capital improvements. (Greg Perliski/Community Impact Newspaper)

Lakeway City Council discussed May 3 the need to improve a Hurst Creek footbridge as part of an overall discussion of needed capital improvements. (Greg Perliski/Community Impact Newspaper)

Lakeway City Council on May 3 discussed a draft of the city’s capital improvement plan, or CIP, for the coming 2022 to 2026 fiscal years, and council members called out several items for city staff to look more closely before bringing the proposed spending plan back for future council consideration.

Of interest at the council’s most recent meeting was the timing of proposed improvements to the pedestrian trail and footbridge at the Hurst Creek Sculpture Garden off Lohmans Crossing Road.

Council Member Gretchen Vance said she was concerned that upgrading the garden path ahead of the bridge might encourage increased use of what at least one citizen told her was an unsafe crossing at a Hurst Creek tributary that flows by the area, under Lohmans Crossing and north toward the Hamilton Greenbelt.

“I was over on the bridge in late December, and it’s very difficult to traverse,” Vance said. “It’s not really walkable. It doesn’t make sense if you can’t continue on Hamilton Greenbelt.”

Council members asked City Manager Julie Oakley to move the $54,000 in proposed walking trail improvements for fiscal year 2020-21 to FY 2021-22, the same fiscal year that staff is proposing to budget $445,000 for future bridge improvements. Lakeway’s 2021-22 fiscal year begins in October 2021. The city also has funds in the current FY 2020-21 capital improvement budget should staff move forward with engineering and design of a new footbridge.


Also in the CIP draft budget is funding for two proposed traffic signals—one light would be at Main Street and Wingreen Loop, and the other would be at Flint Rock Road and Wild Cherry Drive. The total budget for both traffic lights is proposed at $475,000.

However, Oakley said city staff will be discussing cost-sharing agreements with the developers planning to build homes close to those intersections. Following direction from council May 3, city staff also will be discussing sharing costs for the traffic light at Wingreen Loop with the Village of the Hills and the Hills City Manager Wendy Smith, Oakley said.

“I have briefly talked to the Hills city manager,” Oakley said. “I believe she is going to reach out to her council.”

Funding for the CIP comes from various sources, such as the city’s capital reserves, road maintenance tax and general obligation bonds.

In other business, Lakeway council members approved as part of the consent agenda an addendum to a planned unit development, or PUD, agreement with Cherry Knoll LLC. The addendum, once signed, brings to conclusion any current legal action or arbitration by stating that conditions of a settlement agreement between the city and Cherry Knoll have been met, according to a city staff report. The PUD approved by council addresses planned construction of homes and commercial buildings at the intersection of Wild Cherry Drive and Flint Rock Road.

Also approved by council was a set of revisions to its emergency order established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The revisions address a number of items, including how to reopen city buildings once city employees wanting to receive COVID-19 vaccinations have had the chance to do so and the rollback of an order that temporarily suspended delivery hour restrictions for city grocery stores, hospitals and medical facilities.
By Greg Perliski
Greg edits Community Impact Newspaper's Lakeway/Lake Travis and Northwest Austin editions. During the course of his diverse career, he has written for newspapers, online publications and corporate communications teams. He earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin. You can reach him at gperliski@communityimpact.com


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