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Torn Down Bridge Has Kids Crossing Busy Street

Updated: Wednesday, August 13 2014, 08:46 PM CDT

The 2013 Halloween floods could have a big impact on students heading back to school. The floods damaged two pedestrian foot bridges in the Eanes Independent School District (EISD). One bridge near Walsh Tarlton and Pinnacle Road was replaced, the other torn down. Some parents think the bridge that's gone was critical to getting kids to school, safely. 

Jennifer Keaton can't believe the path her kids have always taken to Cedar Creek Elementary and Hill Country Middle School was removed this summer by the City of Austin. 

"What used to be here is a wide sidewalk and then a footbridge that carried you across to the other side," said Keaton. 

The sidewalk and footbridge over a now dry Eanes Creek are gone. The mother of three says that means her kids are now forced up to street level to cross a busy Walsh Tarlton Lane. 

"As many times as we met with them this was never brought up. All we talked about was improving the issue not making it worse," said Keaton. 

An aerial picture from the City of Austin shows the changes. The orange line is the route the kids used to take; a sidewalk just east of Walsh Tarlton that led them under the bridge. The blue line is the new route. Students cross the Walsh Tarlton Bridge at street level and then loop back around to come under it. 

KEYE-TV asked the City of Austin about calls from the neighborhood to widen the sidewalk. 

"The sidewalk, if it were widened the bridge would have to be widened and there's no plans to widen the bridge at this time," said Alexa Muraida with the City of Austin. 

The only other option is to use the crosswalk at Walsh Tarlton and Pinnacle Road. Parents support plans by the City of Austin and EISD to add a crossing guard, but say that will only help during school hours. 

"I don't want to have improvements put in memory of somebody, which is where we're heading," said Keaton. 

Neighbors say they plan to keep fighting. EISD says they're looking at other possible options, in addition to hiring a crossing guard, to make the busy intersection safer.

By Bettie Cross

Torn Down Bridge Has Kids Crossing Busy Street

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