Trail Bridge at Congress Avenue


With the growth of Austin, and continued downtown residential and office development, as well as the recent completion of the Boardwalk along the south shore of Lady Bird Lake, the Trail is being used more frequently—specifically, the areas east of Congress Avenue. This increase in use has brought greater attention to this section of the Trail, as it passes under the Congress Avenue Bridge.

The Trail Bridge at Congress Avenue updated a decades-old bridge and brought a much-needed safety enhancement to the area while also adding a new space to take in the view of Lady Bird Lake. The outdated wooden bridge linked the Trail east and west of Congress Avenue under the Ann Richards Bridge. This link took place around a blind and narrow passageway that posed a safety threat for Trail runners and cyclists rounding the corner at speed.

The new bridge has enhanced pedestrian and bicyclist safety; made the area ADA-accessible; increased the width of the Trail to 14 feet; greatly improved the area’s visual appeal; provided connectivity with the Waller Creek area; created a beautiful site from which to view the Congress Avenue bats; and lowered the city’s maintenance costs.

A sleek and simple design was proposed to minimize visual impact around the Ann Richards Bridge, as well as move users safely and smoothly from east to west. An overlook on the east side of the bridge gives Trail users and bat watchers a safe place to pull off of the Trail, take in the views and connect with Austin. The design also considered the natural function of the site area and sought to mitigate the impact of its construction here. The new bridge is a 14-foot wide overwater steel and concrete structure along the north shore of Lady Bird Lake that was designed and constructed to better serve the area’s growing pedestrian and bicycle use.

Freese & Nichols completed the assessment, final design, and permitting. The bridge was constructed by Jay-Reese Contractors.


  • Coordination
  • Project Management