Katy Railroad and Lance Armstrong Bikeway Bridge

The Katy Railroad trestle and the Lance Armstrong Bikeway cross Shoal Creek in downtown Austin, Texas.

Railroad Trestle

The Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad also known as the Katy, constructed a mainline branch to Austin that opened on July 14, 1904.2 It split from the Katy main at Granger, proceeding southwest to Austin and San Antonio.1

In 1925, the Shoal Creek timber trestle was reconstructed.9 The new bridge featured eleven spans with walkways on the north and south sides of the crossing.

In July 1964, the Katy lost a contract to a trucking firm to carry mail for the U.S. Postal Service.2 That resulted in the discontinuation of passenger service, which carried mail, from Dallas to San Antonio. In 1976, the Katy was abandoned from Georgetown south to Pershing at the junction with Austin Western Railroad, and the line through downtown Austin was disused some time after 1988.

Lance Armstrong Bikeway

The Lance Armstrong Bikeway, a major east-west cycling route, was first proposed in 1999 by local cycling advocate Eric Anderson.7 It was recommended by the Urban Transportation Commission, the Planning Commission, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Environmental Board in July. On October 26, 2000, the city council approved an advanced funding agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for the Austin Crosstown Bikeway, and was awarded $3,203,163 in federal funds from the Statewide Transportation Enhancements Program funds. Planning began in December.8 The federal funds provided 62% of the construction cost, with the city paying the remainder.

On July 27, 2006, the city authorized an endorsement agreement with Lance Armstrong for the bikeway to be named the Lance Armstrong Bikeway.8 Construction on the bike path began in June 2007.7

Today, the South 3rd Street Bike Path carries the Lance Armstrong Bikeway. The UP west of the Austin Convention Center to Tower 205 by the Colorado River Bridge has been dismantled, although there are plans to rebuild the line for passenger service.6 The Shoal Creek trestle was rated structurally deficient and is scheduled to be rebuilt with a 44-foot span for two light rail tracks that would also carry two automobile lanes and a pedestrian path. Preliminary engineering plans began in January 2010.

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