600-foot Loop 360 bridge spans Lake Austin

Construction on the Pennybacker, or Loop 360, Bridge began in early 1980 and finished in summer 1982.

The bridge, named for designer Percy Pennybacker, was only the second of its kind to be attempted.

"We chose a bridge design that would enhance the beauty of the entire area and have as little environmental impact as possible," Bob Neely, Austin District public affairs officer at the time of the construction, told Texas Department of Transportation writer Bo McCarver.

The bridge spans Lake Austin 100 feet above the water, and no part of the structure touches the lake.

The steel, produced in Japan and fabricated in South Korea, was designed to weather to the amber color it is today after only four years' time. More than 600 million pounds of steel used in the construction was sandblasted prior to the bridge's dedication to allow for an even weathering pattern and uniform coloration.

The four-lane bridge cost $10 million and received the Federal Highway Administration's Excellence in Highway Design award in 1984, according to www.bridgestunnels.com.