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Construction Continues at Phase II of Waterloo Greenway: The Confluence

Construction on Waterloo Greenway’s Phase II: The Confluence is well underway, with significant progress made in the last few months. This phase of the project is revitalizing Waller Creek from 4th St. to Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin, and has been a massive undertaking by the City of Austin and Waterloo Greenway Conservancy in partnership with a design team led by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and construction led by Jay-Reese Contractors.

The Confluence is the southern anchor of the larger Waterloo Greenway project which is bookended by Waterloo Park to the north. As a whole, this project is transforming 1.5 miles of Waller Creek and its surrounding green spaces into a vibrant urban park and trail system in the heart of downtown Austin. The overarching goal of the project is to create greenspaces that are both beautiful and functional, with a strong commitment to sustainability, accessibility, and community building. Federal funding received from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has been a major asset in helping the project realize these goals, along with local funding provided by the City of Austin and Waterloo Greenway.

Construction broke ground on The Confluence in May 2023 and progress has continued at a steady pace since then under the leadership of MVVA and Jay-Reese Contractors. Over the past few weeks, the reconstruction of the biofiltration pond, located at 621 E 3rd St. near the Austin Convention Center, has seen significant development. The pond, which will help improve water quality and create a more resilient ecosystem along Waller Creek, treats 22.8 acres of urban stormwater captured from the impervious area surrounding the Austin Convention Center, and is the only one of its kind in the downtown area.

Sedimentation biofiltration ponds are a type of stormwater management system that use plants and other natural elements to filter pollutants and contaminants from stormwater runoff before it enters nearby waterways. These ponds are an important tool for improving water quality and reducing the impact of urban development on natural ecosystems.

The biofiltration pond at The Confluence is being created using minimally invasive construction techniques that will allow for planting and the preservation of existing large shade trees and their critical root zones. Fun Fact: The large limestone blocks used along The Confluence are sourced from a quarry north of Austin and feature imprints of marine fossils.

In addition to the pond, significant progress has been made clearing invasive species along the banks of Waller Creek in preparation for its restoration. Plus, a new bridge located across Waller Creek between E 3rd St. and E 4th St. is in progress. This bridge will create a new route for pedestrians and cyclists to traverse through the city and enjoy the shade of future towering cypress trees planted along the creek.

The future trail system at The Confluence will be an essential component of the park, connecting visitors to the various destinations throughout the area including the Rainey St. Historic District, Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, Austin Convention Center, and the Ann and Roy Butler Hike & Bike Trail.

Waterloo Greenway is an exciting and transformative development for downtown Austin, and we look forward to its Phase II completion in 2026.

Timelapse of a new bridge being constructed across Waller Creek between E 3rd St. and E 4th St.