Hornsby Bend Stakeholders
Update 1 February 2021
Phase 2 construction projects and changes in access to trails at Hornsby Bend
As we approach almost a year of COVID lockdown for the CER, Austin Water continues to follow the direction of APH and the City Manager who have extended the CER closure into April. However, after initially closing last March, the Hornsby Bend site reopened to the public in July and remains open for nature viewing and hiking our trails. At least now with the vaccination program accelerating, we can look forward to the possibility of restarting volunteer events and reopening our building and auditorium later in 2021. It all depends on you getting vaccinated, so please do your part to speed us to those goals.
Construction projects status - Even with the pandemic, the construction work at Hornsby Bend has stayed on schedule. The Phase 1 construction project of rebuilding the Side Stream Treatment Plant at the western end of Ponds 1 and 2 is wrapping up. This allows the Phase 2 construction project – the new Transfer Pump Station – to begin in February. The new pump station will be located at the western end of Pond 2 on the embankment overlooking the old aquatic greenhouse. (see the attached site map) It will be used for both pumping treatment pond water to irrigate our hay fields and to transfer pond water to a wastewater line that goes to our South Austin Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant downstream of Hornsby Bend. Transfer pumping will be done to assure that our ponds never overflow as the input of water to the Hornsby Bend Plant continuously increases with the rapid growth of Austin.
Demolition of the old pumping station and the aquatic greenhouse – This is also part of Phase 2. In the late 1980s, the old pumping station was built for irrigation water as part of the construction of the aquatic greenhouse, and it will now be replaced by the new Transfer Pump Station. The aquatic greenhouse must be taken down as well. The greenhouse fiberglass panels are well past their lifetime and fragmenting from UV exposure. As well, the greenhouse was damaged in a 2017 windstorm which tore metal flashing from the structure. After both the old pump station and greenhouse are removed, the area will be restored to bottomland forest.
Access impacts of Phase 2 – New fences will be built to protect visitors from walking into the construction areas for Phase 2. This will involve a fence blocking the Pond 2 road further east along the pond than the current construction zone fence. This part of the road is already gated off to stop vehicles, so the only impact along Pond 2 will be temporarily reducing the length of the Pond 2 road open for walking. The other temporary impact will be on the River Trail since it runs parallel to the old pump station and aquatic greenhouse. During the duration of Phase 2, the River Trail will be closed to visitors beginning just east of the old pump station. (see the attached map)
Unfortunately, this will temporarily block walking access to Pond 3. Pond 3 will still be accessible from the north, walking from the Platt Lane entrance to the River Trail. As soon as demolition is completed, we plan to reopen the River Trail for access to Pond 3.
Timeline for startup and completion – Beginning in the next few weeks, the project contractor will be onsite and fences could be up before the end of February. The Transfer Pump Station project is planned to be completed by the summer of 2022. With the end of Phase 2 construction, we will begin to reopen the pond roads around Pond 2 for public access.
Until we can once more hold an in-person Hornsby Bend Stakeholders meeting, we will keep you updated on project progress through email and on our websites and social media pages (links below).
If you have any questions, please email Kevin Anderson.