broken pavement on trail
Tuesday, May 8, 2018 by Mose Buchele

Section of Shoal Creek Hike and Bike Trail suffers massive storm damage

Jessica Zarowitz was in for a surprise while walking her dog, Lady Bird, along the Shoal Creek Hike and Bike Trail on Monday: The trail that had been there for years suddenly wasn’t. Trees had fallen over it, and the pavement had buckled and slid into the creek in places.

“Maybe this is the universe telling us to explore the other part of the trail,” she chuckled.

Zarowitz is a licensed landscape architect with experience designing and building trails, so she couldn’t help but look at the damage with a professional eye.

Her verdict: “This is not a quick fix.”

The city says the damage to the trail between 24th and 25th streets was caused when part of the hill the trail sits on experienced a “slope failure” and slid down during Friday’s storm.

“We’re still not sure if (the land is) going to continue moving or not,” Clayton Ernst, a civil engineer with the Watershed Protection Department, told KUT. “So we haven’t really gotten to the point of addressing solutions yet.”

He said this is tricky parkland to work with because it’s wedged between the creek and a hill with private property on it. Portions of the land uphill appeared to have experienced extensive damage.

The city is urging people to walk on the east side of Shoal Creek in the affected area until the trail is reopened. Ernst said it will take months – maybe years ­– to fix, provided the city can find a safe way to do so.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT. Photo by Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT.

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Key Players & Topics In This Article

Watershed Protection Department: The city's Watershed Protection Department works to reduce the impact of floods, erosion and water pollution in the city. The department is mostly funded by the city's drainage fee.

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