Grand Opening of the Boardwalk Trail at Lady Bird Lake
It's been decades in the making, but Saturday the boardwalk connecting the hike-and-bike trail at Lady Bird Lake finally opened.
Before the boardwalk, there was a 1.1 mile gap in the trail around the lake. Along that gap, walkers, runners and bikers had to use busy Riverside Drive. The boardwalk allows thousands of people who use the trail each day to walk around the entire 10 mile loop.
"It is a happy day to be in Austin. It is a happy day to see the completion of this project and it is a happy day to see the connectivity between East and West Austin," said Austin Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole.
Thousands showed up for the grand opening of the boardwalk Saturday morning.
"The boardwalk provides an alternative transportation link between East and West Austin and between downtown Austin in a very safe and convenient way," Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell said.
After several city leaders spoke about the importance of the boardwalk it was time to open it up to the public.
"The grand opening this morning of this boardwalk is the culmination of two decades of planning and dreaming and thinking of the connectivity of the town Lake Trail," said Marty Stump with Austin's Parks and Recreation Department.
"There was a gap in the loop around the trail and now we have a continuous loop," Stump added.
People who live near the boardwalk said it's been a long time coming.
"We've been waiting for this. We're real excited about this boardwalk where we can walk and meet people and ride bikes and do all kinds of things and we can be closer to the water," said Aralyn Hughes who lives in the South Shore District near the boardwalk.
"It's great. Great views, beautiful, right out over the water," Mike Baldwin who also lives in the South Shore District said.
Those who use the Southeast side of the hike-and-bike trail said the boardwalk will be much safer than walking on Riverside Drive.
"I think just last Sunday we saw somebody get nailed by a car on their bike trying to go across there, so much safer way to go," said Baldwin.
"It's going to make it a lot easier and a lot safer for all of us," Hughes said.
The boardwalk cost a total of $28 million. The Trail Foundation contributed $3 million towards the project. People we talked to said it's worth every cent.
"It's kind of a new Austin gem I think. You've got to get out here and just experience it and check it out," said Baldwin.