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Project Preview: Waterloo Greenway Phase 2: The Confluence

WGI’s team of professionals provided civil engineering services for the second phase of the 13.5-mile Waterloo Greenway in downtown Austin, TX

Waterloo Greenway‘s newest addition, The Confluence, formerly called the Creek Delta, is the continuation of the 35-acre riverside greenspace and trail system being constructed along Waller Creek in downtown Austin, TX.

The Confluence is the second in a three-phase plan that will culminate with a 3-mile chain of parks, dotted with community-friendly infrastructure, that will link the University of Texas‘s campus with Lady Bird Lake by way of bicycle and ADA-accessible pedestrian trails that parallel the creek.

The first phase of the Waterloo Greenway, called Waterloo Park, opened in August of 2021 after being closed for almost a decade. Now, attention is shifting to the southernmost point of the Waterloo Greenway, at the intersection of Cesar Chavez and Red River Streets, where Waller Creek meets Ladybird lake at Butler Hike & Bike Trail.

Unique Design Approach

Focusing heavily on sustainability and resiliency, the backbone of this $75 million project will include a complete reconstruction of the creek channel to stabilize severely eroded slopes, construction of creek features that create habitats for wildlife, and the introduction of nearly 1,550 trees (including a 500,000 pound, 70′ tall Pecan Tree!), 200,000 mature plants, and 10 acres of seed mixes. These calculated improvements will enhance downtown air quality, restore creek health, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce the urban heat island effect that is created due to proximity to downtown Austin.

Bridge waterlook park

The Confluence’s urban backdrop will also necessitate an approach that equally emphasizes enhanced connectivity. To achieve this goal, three lightweight suspension bridges, designed to blend effortlessly into the natural environment, will be constructed, creating vital new east-west connections for hiking, biking, and exploring.

the spring at waterloo greenways the confluence

To effectively calibrate the design of The Confluence with plans for downtown development, linking the west side of Waller Creek, where the Austin Convention Center and Four Seasons Hotel reside, with the bustling East side, where the Rainey Street District’s dining and shops are located, became paramount in order to amplify economic development for the entire surrounding area.

Stone Bluff waterloo park
The Stone Bluff runs parallel to Waller Creek.

The Confluence is also pursuing certification under the Sustainable SITES Initiative (SITES), which recognizes sustainable land development projects that increase resiliency using nature-based solutions. Park-goers will be able to enjoy a one-of-a-kind immersive experience within the 13-acre park, including the deepest and most ecologically diverse section of Waller Creek.

lagoon and lakeview terrance waterloo park
Lakeview Terrance (left) and Lagoon & Leaf Deck (right)

Hitting the Ground Running

As one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, Austin is continuously under threat of over-development that shrinks the public realm. The Confluence’s role as both a public amenity and city infrastructure reinforces the importance of great public spaces adapting to the needs of the city and the people.

Jay-Reese Contractors were selected by the Waller Creek Local Government Corporation (LGC) to lead the construction of The Confluence, which began in the Spring of 2023 and will continue for two to three years. WGI was selected to provide Civil Engineering and land development consulting services for this award-winning project, including the site plan permitting and design for the utilities, drainage systems, and stormwater management systems. WGI is looking forward to providing CA support in the upcoming months!

Creating and Delivering High-Quality Service

WGI is on the cutting edge of complex projects like The Confluence and the rest of the Waterloo Greenway. We’re ready to collaborate with your team on the next one. Contact us today, and let’s discuss how we can create your city’s next signature urban park!

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