Austin Avenue Bridges Project
The Austin Avenue Bridges Project
In early 2016, the City of Georgetown launched a study of the Austin Avenue traffic corridor, which includes the two historic Austin Avenue bridges crossing the San Gabriel River. The bridges were built in 1939-40. The bridges are considered historic and are therefore subject to a number of federal historic preservation and environmental protection regulations. The bridges are owned by the City of Georgetown, and the City is responsible for the maintenance of upkeep of the bridges. Safety inspections of the bridges are conducted every two years by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) using guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Transportation. [See also our Bridges FAQ page]
The City of Georgetown planning staff is currently evaluating five options regarding the Austin Avenue bridges. These options are described in a handout provided by the City at a public meeting held on May 11, 2017. The options are shown below:
The Alliance supports Option 6A – Rehabilitation with Pedestrian Bridge. Option 6A represents the best combination of safety, preservation of our historical assets and cost effectiveness. It is also the least disruptive solution, which is an important consideration for our historic downtown business district, which the City markets as the Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas!
Option 6A also provides a real game-changing feature, which is a new pedestrian bridge. This new pedestrian bridge will open many new possibilities by linking the downtown area to our outstanding San Gabriel trail system and the new Convention Center at the Rivery. No other option offers this potential.
The City states that Option 6A offers “no mobility improvements.” However, we believe that this relates to two specific features that are high on the City’s priority list. Those features are wider lanes on the bridges and a dedicated turning lane at San Gabriel Village Boulevard. The City considers both of these features as mobility improvements.
The lane width on the bridges is currently 11 feet. The City states that these lanes should be 12 feet wide. However, traffic flow will ultimately be limited by the lane width through the center of our historically protected town square. Those lanes, also 11 feet wide, are not likely to change. So, expanding the bridge lanes will do little to expand traffic flow, but will cost Georgetown taxpayers millions of dollars for new construction.
The dedicated turn lane at San Gabriel Boulevard will require that the existing bridge decks be replaced with new, wider decks. This is a major construction process that will result in significant disruptions to traffic flow into and out of the downtown business district for at least two years, and perhaps longer. A similar construction project in Salado resulted in massive disruption and business closures.
The Alliance believes that a dedicated turn signal at San Gabriel Boulevard would be a less costly, less disruptive solution. It would improve traffic safety on Austin Avenue and protect The Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas! Best of all, the turn signal can be implemented NOW without construction!
For all of these reasons, Option 6A is the best way to go.
Alliance Project Goals
Ensure public safety of drivers and hikers
Preserve and enhance the historic bridges
Support smart planning for future transportation needs
Protect the vitality of the Downtown Business District
Support and promote the Downtown Master Plan
Ensure that Georgetown residents are well informed and that their voices are included in the Bridges discussion
Project Information and News
The City of Georgetown Public Works Department will hold an open house meeting for public input on the Austin Avenue bridges rehabilitation project. The focus of the meeting is to get public input on options for railing designs on the bridges. The open house meeting...
…I am writing to you today as a member of the Georgetown Neighborhood Alliance. I’m reaching out to you today to share two pieces of information with you regarding the Austin Avenue Bridges Project as you prepare for the bridges workshop on Tuesday, June 27th.
Hi Georgetown, This is a quick blog post to summarize the four key facts about the Austin Avenue Bridges Project. We’ve been sharing this info with you over the last few weeks in our FACTS ad campaign in the Williamson County Sun. You can download your own copy of the...
This is the fourth and final blog post in our Facts Series. Today, we’ll bring it all together to explain why Option 6A is the BEST choice for Georgetown.
This is the third blog post in our Facts Series. Today, we’ll discuss why the 11-foot lanes on the Austin Avenue bridges are a better solution than the 12-foot lanes being proposed by the City.
This letter to the editor was published by Williamson County Sun on June 11, 2017 (on Page 4A). The letter, written by Len Denton, a member of the Alliance, discusses three key points that prove that the Austin Avenue bridges are safe.
A dedicated Austin Avenue Turn Signal at San Gabriel Village Blvd & 2nd St, instead of an expensive turn lane, is safe and saves taxpayers millions.
This article discusses the City’s claim that the Austin Avenue bridges have several deteriorating components and structural deficiencies. We’ll show that the City’s own consulting engineering reports and TxDOT test results show that the bridges are, in fact, SAFE!
This article discusses a new position paper issued by the Georgetown Neighborhood Alliance, which strongly urges the Georgetown City Council to eliminate two of the four options that the City is considering for the Austin Avenue bridges.
This article provides a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to the Austin Avenue Bridges Project.
This article, about the Austin Avenue Bridges Project, was originally published by Community Impact on August 10, 2016. This article discusses the process being used by the City of Georgetown to evaluate the four current options relating to the future of the bridges.
This article, about the serious impact of I-35 construction on the town of Salado, TX, was originally published by Texas Monthly in December, 2015.
This article, about the Austin Avenue Bridges Project, was originally published by Community Impact on April 13, 2016. This article discusses the city of Georgetown’s first public meeting for the Austin Avenue Bridges Project on March 31 at the library.
This article, about the Austin Avenue Bridges Project, was originally published by Community Impact in February, 2105. In this article, Georgetown’s Transportation Director discusses the issues regarding replacing the bridges.
This article was originally published by The Williamson County Sun in January, 2015. The article discusses the pros and cons of repairing or replacing the Austin Avenue bridges.
This article, about the Austin Avenue Bridges Project, was originally published by Community Impact on March 23, 2016. The article discusses concerns that Georgetown business owners have regarding the prospect of replacing the Austin Avenue bridges and the potential impacts to downtown businesses.
The Georgetown Neighborhood Alliance (the Alliance) was recently named as a Consulting Party to the Austin Avenue Bridges Project by TxDOT. This article discussing what a Consulting Party is, and why it matters that the Alliance became a Consulting Party.
The Georgetown Neighborhood Alliance has joined the Austin Avenue Bridges Project as one of several community groups seeking to participate in the City’s evaluation of the various bridge options as an active stakeholder. As such, the Alliance sought and was granted Consulting Party status under guidelines set forth in the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA). The Section 106 process is administered by TxDOT. Additional information below.
Links to Web Resources
- Alliance’s Austin Avenue Bridges Position Paper
- Alliance’s Austin Avenue Bridges Project FAQs
- City of Georgetown Austin Avenue Bridges Project Webpage
- Texas Historical Commission
Other Consulting Party Sites
- Georgetown Heritage Society
- Downtown Resource Council
- North Old Town Neighborhood Association – Coming Soon
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