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What you need to know about the new, wishbone shaped Longhorn Dam Bridge

The east Austin bridge is nearly six years in the making and recently received $4.12 million in federal grant money.

A rendering shows people walking along a pedestrian bridge over the water at dusk. In the background, tall structures with vines coverings are visible over a plaza-like shape.

The new Longhorn Dam Bridge will contain a central “floating plaza” with shade structures and seating.

Rendering via the City of Austin

Soon, the days of running alongside traffic over the Longhorn Dam will be a distant memory.

A new, wishbone-shaped pedestrian and bicycle bridge will soon connect the north and south shores of Lady Bird Lake in east Austin, with construction slated to begin as soon as this year. Here’s what you should know.

What will the bridge look like?

The three-pronged Longhorn Dam Bridge will connect Longhorn Shores, Holly Shores, and the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail that stretches over a peninsula on the north side of the lake. In total, the bridge will add 2,000 ft of walkway and contain a “floating plaza” at the center, complete with bike racks, benches, trees, public art, and shade structures.

An aerial map of the region in East Austin shows a three-pronged bridge with a central plaza.

This map from the City of Austin outlines the shape of the pedestrian bridge, as it will be seen from above.

Image via the City of Austin

But wait, there’s more. In addition to the bridge, this project will:

  • Replace the underpass under Pleasant Valley Road with a wider, well-lit underpass
  • Add landscaping and parking improvements along Canterbury Street
  • Remove the existing bridge between the peninsula and Holly Shores

The project recently received $4.12 million in federal grant money, but the total cost for the project has yet to be released. However, voters approved a transportation bond in 2020 that set aside $20 million for this project.

What’s the timeline?

This bridge has been in the works since 2018, but appears to be headed into the home stretch of becoming a reality.

With design, permitting, and bidding processes now complete, the project will move to Austin City Council for review as soon as next week. Once it is given the green light, construction could begin this winter, with completion currently scheduled for 2026.

A rendering shows people on bikes and on foot either emerging from or entering a sloped, half-moon shaped pedestrian tunnel with lighting illuminating the sides.

The Longhorn Dam Bridge project also involves replacing the pedestrian underpass under Pleasant Valley Road.

Rendering via the City of Austin