Project connects 1.1-mile gap in Ann and Roy Butler hiking trail

An overwater trail connection more than seven years in the making is set to open to the public June 7.

The Boardwalk at Lady Bird Lake, a 1.1-mile passage that connects the south portion of the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, is nearly ready for public use. Project costs totaled $27.5 million, said David Taylor, project manager for the city of Austin.

The Trail Foundation contributed $3 million toward the project to help ensure it was complete in one phase, TTF Executive Director Susan Rankin said. Much of that money came from individual donors, she said, as well as a $500,000 gift from the St. David's Foundation.

"This project is really a great example of how private organizations and private donors can be so essential to putting on the ground an important public space," Rankin said.

Much of the city's contribution came from a voter-approved 2010 mobility bond package. The project adds safety and connectivity, which previously prevented many south shore trail users from fully utilizing the hike and bike trail, she said.

"That's one big reason everybody supports this project," Rankin said.

The boardwalk's debut will include children's activities, live music and remarks from public officials. Blue Lapis Light, a site-specific aerial dance company, will perform under I-35.

"The dance will symbolize the east-west connection that's been created and celebrate the lake," Rankin said, noting that Silicon Laboratories Inc. funded the performance.