Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, TX

Overview: Interesting Facts

Congress Avenue Bridge is located in Austin TX. The bridge, which was constructed in 1960, crosses over Lady Bird Lake. Congress Avenue Bridge can be described as an arch bridge made of concrete and featuring six lanes (three northbound and three southbound lanes). The bridge also has sidewalks running along both sides. Avenue bridge is 288 meters long (946 feet) and 18 meters wide (60 feet).

Congress Avenue Bridge hosts the largest urban bat colonies. Pregnant female bats roost at the bridge during spring and raise their young ones from mid-summer to fall. Male bats get access to Avenue Bridge only after pups are born.

Brief History

Before the current bridge, the original structure was a floating bridge. In 1875, a wooden toll bridge was built at a total cost of $100,000, which included the cost of the bridge, dykes, and culvert over the Bouldin Branch. However, an accident involving a herd of cows caused the bridge to give in. Fast forward 1884, a new iron bridge was built. The bridge had sufficient spans allowing for the highest overflow.

In 1892 and 1987, the bridge underwent repairs, with the city incurring half the total expenses of reflooring. The repairs were completed in 1902. In several years, bridge traffic increased drastically, creating a need for a new bridge. Plans were made to construct a concrete arch bridge – the current Congress Avenue Bridge.

Milestones

The current bridge costs $208,950 to build. The bridge was officially opened on 4th April 1910. After being in use for 70 years, Avenue Bridge underwent rehabilitation in 1980. The bridge was renamed on 16th November 2006 as the Anne Richards Congress Avenue Bridge during a weakly Austin TX City Council meeting. The bridge is a popular attraction for both locals and tourists interested in seeing bats emerging at night.

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