City designs permanent solution to threat of erosion in Guerrero Park



Southwest Austin’s Roy G. Guerrero Park is home to a disc golf course and baseball diamonds and is a popular birding destination. But according to the city, a growing threat poses a risk to the popular park: erosion.

The 360-acre park is home to two separate coves: Country Club West and Country Club East. The two streams also serve as drainage channels that divert flood water to the Colorado River.

Country Club West, which was a man-made project started in the 1970s, was never fully completed. As a result, water could not flow into the Colorado River in a controlled manner, and the canal was severely eroded by sand, wind, and water.

In recent years, the long-term effects of this erosion have come to a head. In 2015, heavy flooding washed away a pedestrian bridge that served as a shortcut through the park. The bridge has not yet been repaired.

As the original man-made channel was not completed, erosion continued to make the area more difficult to manage. From May 2015 to December 2017, erosion consumed more than 1,500 feet of the Country Club West drainage channel.

According to Janna Renfro, an engineer in the Watershed Protection Department, “The problem is that this project was never properly completed and led stably to the river.

A series of short-term fixes by the city has not been sufficient. At last week’s Environment Commission meeting, Renfro said that over the past few years the city has done some “temporary repairs to really try to hold the line because every time that it’s raining and there is more erosion, this project becomes more complicated and more expensive. . “

Currently, the city is in the early stages of creating a more permanent solution. Three concrete drop structures would help control the energy of the water as it flows into the Colorado River. Renfro explained, “While we generally really like to avoid concrete in our streams, these structures are needed to get water down to the river.”

The project would also include a pedestrian bridge over one of the concrete structures that would be better protected against major flooding.

An update to the construction cost estimate shows that in total, the project will cost between $ 22 million and $ 28 million. Bidding for the contract and initial construction is expected to begin in 2022 and the expected end date is 2024. Funding will come from a combination of drainage service funds, general funds, 2018 bond funds and ” a FEMA risk mitigation grant that was awarded. in 2018.

Photo by Marcus Calderon, made available via a Creative Commons license.

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