Capital improvements help bridge the gap along Pflugerville walkways

Work is now underway to bridge the gaps along trails and sidewalks in Pflugerville’s parks and streets after city council approved a contractor for the project March 8. Assistant City Manager Tom Word said the city is aiming to improve safety and mobility in launching the project.

“There are several reasons for filling these gaps. One is just to complete the system and allow movement, and second, it’s for school and pedestrian safety,” Word said.

He said the project is important because Pflugerville’s trails and sidewalks are used as an alternate transportation system.

“A lot of people really enjoy it—it’s a way for people to get exercise and move through their communities as pedestrians, as opposed to using a car,” Word said. “When we have gaps in the system, it prevents people from using the trails as much as they’d like to, or from getting from one point to another.”

According to Word, the city completed a trail master plan last year. The plan identified “a significant list of trail gaps and new trails” necessary to meet the city’s growing needs.

“Some of the gaps are as short as 25 feet or as long as almost eight blocks,” he said.

Trails and connectors

Project features include closing five trail-gap segments, making three sidewalk connections and building a pedestrian bridge connecting Settlers Valley Trail to Mountain View Drive.

“For the most part, we’ll be able to do this without inconveniencing people who are using the existing trails,” Word said.

During a recent preconstruction conference, the contractor told city officials he is ready to get started and expects it will take six to eight months to complete.

“A lot of this work will be done during the summer. If it’s a typical Texas summer, they should get finished pretty close to six months, if we don’t have a lot of rainouts,” Word said.

Improved safety

Once the work is complete, city officials hope all pedestrians will be safer.

“Some of the gaps we have are on routes that our school-age kids might use to get to school, so when we have a significant gap, then they’re forced to walk in the street or go in some other direction,” Word said.

Hendrickson High School students Megel Watkins and Dayana Rodriguez use Pflugerville’s trails and park system, and both said they think the project will be an asset for the city.

“Before I had a car, I had to walk to school every day,” Watkins said. “I had to walk across a highway every morning, so that’s dangerous in itself.”

Rodriguez said the improvements should make the city safer for everyone.

“I think this will make it safer for not just kids, but adults, too. In some of these areas, cars don’t slow down or pay attention,” Rodriguez said.

Project costs

On March 8, Pflugerville City Council approved an amount not to exceed $850,000 for the project and an eight month completion schedule. According to the city, the contractor, Muniz Concrete and Construction, provided a base bid of $709,170.

“The contract is structured such that when he finishes all of the sections that we’ve identified, we can look at how much money is left out of that $850,000. Toward the end of the process, we might add an additional section of trail, if we have funds available.”

As a result, Word said this might become a bigger project than originally expected.

“This is an amenity that is really important to our citizens—they’ve identified it as such in surveys and other discussions,” Word said. “Our park and trail system is something that really contributes to the quality of life for our citizens in Pflugerville. We know they use it a lot, because we see them out there all the time, and this is just going to enhance the quality of life they enjoy.”