History of the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge in Austin, TX


James D. Pfluger Bridge | Photo by @amantes_logic

Ever see the skyline from that one cool bridge downtown? It’s the James D. Pfluger Pedestrian Bridgeaka the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge.

The contemporary style of the structure makes for a popular spot for hikers, walkers, and bikers.

Even though the Lamar Boulevard Bridge is the main bridge Austinites drive across downtown, it wasn’t created for cyclists or pedestrians. In an effort to address safety concerns for non-motorists in the ‘90s, the city began raising funds to widen the bridge. There was just one issue. The bridge had been named a historical structure by the Texas Historical Commission — meaning the design could not be changed.

In comes the birth of the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge.

Named after James D. Pfluger — a local architect who designed some of the city’s hike and bike trail systems — the structure runs parallel to the Lamar Boulevard Bridge. While the bridge was built in 2001, the northwestern ramp over Cesar Chavez Street was completed in 2011.

The bridge spans 700 ft over Lady Bird Lake and consists of weathering steelmeaning it will take a long time before it starts to rust. The double-hourglass shape even serves as a public gathering space.

The bridge also connects the north + south routes of the 10-mile Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail.

Curious about more local places? Check out this guide to Austin architecture. From Auditorium Shores to the Texas State Capitol, these Austin spaces add some interesting history to the city.

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