Construction on Austin Avenue sidewalk could begin in mid-February

Work to expand the sidewalk along Austin Avenue between Seventh and Eighth streets in Georgetown could break ground in mid-February, city officials said.

"In our downtown master plan, one of the key elements is pedestrian mobility. Wider sidewalks is one way that we get there," Assistant City Manager Laurie Brewer said at the Jan. 8 City Council meeting. "Wider sidewalks also allow for art to be displayed in the common area, as well as caf seating and other activities to happen [on] the sidewalks."

The project would remove the eight parking spaces on the west side of Austin Avenue, Brewer said.

"It's kind of a dangerous area now because people are opening their car doors into traffic," she said. "It alleviates a potentially dangerous situation. It also provides greater visibility for the businesses that are along that side of the Square."

City Council approved a construction contract with Keystone Construction Inc. of Austin on Jan. 8. The $230,000 project will expand the sidewalk as well as correct accessibility and drainage issues. The project will also add lighted, irrigated planters.

"This project has been contemplated for a couple of years, and we're finally ready to bring this to construction phase," Brewer said.

Transportation Services Manager Mark Miller said the city would encourage construction to happen at night to limit disruptions to businesses.

According to city documents, the project could be substantially completed in time for the Red Poppy Festival in April.