Austin trails remain closed due to safety concerns


by HEATHER KOVAR / KVUE News and photojournalist MICHAEL MOORE

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherK_KVUE

Posted on October 15, 2013 at 5:17 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 15 at 5:20 PM

AUSTIN -- Weekend floods are over, but they left behind big holes and ruts on hike and bike trails across the city.

Austin's parks department is asking people to stay off the trail, especially since they're preparing for more rain and possibly additional damage.

Police caution tape and a sign that reads, "NOTICE. TRAIL CLOSED. NO ENTRY" didn't keep people off the trail near Barton Springs Pool Tuesday. Over at Auditorium Shores, there are not signs that the trail is closed, just some caution tape and barricades in places.

"You just don't cross caution tape. It's there for a reason," said a man with his wife visiting Austin from out of town.

They turned around. However others made their way through mud and muck. After seeing the conditions, some decided to go home.

"I didn't want to slip in there or injure myself or anything like that," said Nicolas Hernandez.

Charles Vaclavik, the division manager for grounds management with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, says it's just not safe. "We're seeing lots of ruts, lots of muddy areas, lots of danger areas that are probably not as evident as people think," he said.

Crews have been out filling holes, some as deep as three feet, with crushed granite.

Vaclavik says it's going to take several days to patch the problems, then they have to come back out and resurface properly. Rain in the forecast could delay progress.

"Any substantial amount of rain is going to wash away what we've put back down," said Vaclavik.

They're trying to get ahead of the weather so no further damage is done. The parks department is planning to re-evaluate Wednesday afternoon, so residents should not expect the trails to open prior.

Austin police are monitoring the trails, but as of Tuesday, are not ticketing people on them.

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