It’s easy to forget that infrastructure builds are all about people. Afterall, we all need access to homes, jobs, schools—and our families, right? A walk to or through the park? That’s helpful too. No wonder people in Austin are breathing a sigh of relief: funds have been committed to repair a bridge that collapsed—in 2015.
$25 Million for Pedestrian Bridge
The City Council of Austin is moving ahead with a plan to replace a pedestrian bridge in Southeast Austin’s Roy G. Guerrero Park. The bridge collapsed when flooding in 2015 accelerated erosion that had been eating away at it. As Austin American Statesman reports, for the past seven years, hikers, bikers, golfers—as well as commuters and college students have had to take quite a detour to get around the collapsed bridge:
The downed bridge is an annoyance not only for park-goers, but for commuters getting downtown from the Montopolis neighborhood and an Austin Community College campus…Getting to the other side requires a rocky climb up and down the ravine or, for those less adventurous, there’s a concrete crossing a half-mile away…Janna Renfro, supervising engineer with Austin Watershed Protection, said restoring the stream is “expensive and extensive.”…The trouble with the channel began not with the 2015 floods but when it was built in 1976. Its purpose was to remove flood plain from a proposed development on Riverside Drive. However, engineering was never completed to move the water all the way to the Colorado River. …Engineers designed a project they thought could hold back the erosion and…replace the bridge…To be sure, from 2018 to 2019 they did a test run with a model manufactured in a lab.
Slated for completion in 2024, the new steel bridge will be 164 feet long—making it 50 feet longer then the original—and “it is designed to withstand another major storm, as it sits above the 100-year flood plain.” The bid was awarded to Posillico and a federal grant of $8.5 million will help against the $25 million cost.
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Good To Know
With Austin’s continued growth, comes the imperative for more community colleges—and environmental stewardship too. Progress is underway on both, as School Construction News reports:
The newest kid on the block for the Austin Community College (ACC) District, known as Highland Phase 2, has been recognized with LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for its efforts to lessen waste and increase the campus’s energy efficiency…The U.S. Green Building Council took note of Highland Phase 2’s use of recycled material and reusing 58 percent of the original structure that was previously on the site. Other sustainable elements achieved at the site include 200kW solar panels, light-colored paving and roofing to refract as much heat as possible…Three other campuses under the college’s umbrella have earned LEED Silver certification…Austin Community College educates more than 70,000 students per year. ACC, which currently diverts more than half of its landfill waste, aims to have no campus waste by 2040 and be entirely climate-neutral by 2050.
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