Barton Springs pool to reopen after repairs

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by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and photojournalist DOUG NAUGLE

kvue.com

Posted on March 26, 2013 at 8:13 AM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 26 at 6:21 PM

AUSTIN -- It's one of Austin's favorite swimming holes and it's been shut down for months. Now there’s good news for those who love Barton Springs Pool: Repairs are complete and it's reopening this weekend.

For more than three months, Barton Springs Pool has been off limits to swimmers, while the City made what they called "much-needed repairs."

“We're all glad to have the pool opening back up,” Mayor Lee Leffingwell said.

Leffingwell and Austin City Council members announced Monday that those repairs are almost complete and the pool would reopen this weekend.

“The total cost was about $2.9 million, and nearly all of that was paid with the drainage utility fee which you pay with your utility bills,” said Leffingwell. “Hundred thousand dollars of that was furnished by Parks and Recreation.”

The pool was shutdown in December so a bypass culvert could be repaired.

“What a lot of people don't realize is the sidewalk that we're standing on is the top of a box culvert and Barton Creek is diverted through this tunnel,” Project Manager Dennis Crabill said.

The culvert was built in 1974. Its job is to have water from Barton Creek bypass the pool, and keep the spring water and creek water from mixing.

But the culvert had started to crack.

“The pool would drain into the tunnel and there was danger in losing elevation in the pool,” Crabill said.

City officials were also worried it could affect the endangered salamander that calls the pool home.

“What the project did is fix the floor, there were leaks holes in the floor, reconstruct all the joints,” Crabill said.

Project managers say the repairs will help it last for at least another 25 years.

All that's left to do is clean out the tunnel and lay down fresh sod, and of course, give the pool a good cleaning. Then it will be ready to open at 5 a.m. Saturday.
 

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