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Pennybacker Bridge, Austin

4.4
#77 of 175 in Things to do in Austin
The Percy V. Pennybacker Jr. Bridge in Austin, Texas, is a through-arch bridge across Lake Austin which connects the northern and southern sections of the Loop 360 highway, also known as the "Capital of Texas Highway." The road is widely considered one of the most scenic urban drives in Texas, in large part due to this arched weathering-steel bridge and the rolling hills that flank the road. In 2001, 48,000 vehicles crossed the bridge daily. Ten years prior to this, 22,000 vehicles had crossed the bridge daily.HistoryMore commonly known as the "360 Bridge," the contract for the bridge was let in late 1979 and major structural steelwork was finished by July 1982. The bridge was dedicated officially November 29, 1982 by Austin mayor Carole McClellan and other public officials and opened for traffic December 3, 1982.The bridge is named for Percy V. Pennybacker Jr., who designed bridges for the Texas Highway Department and was a pioneer in the technology of welded structures.Construction detailsThe steel bridge has a uniform weathered rust finish allowing the bridge to blend in with the surrounding hills and lake. The 600 short tons (544,311 kg) of steel for the bridge were produced in Japan. The bridge structures were fabricated in Ulsan, Korea by Hyundai Heavy Industries. The steel structures were shipped on the Jundale freighter to the Port of Houston and then trucked to the bridge site. The bridge was erected by Bristol Steel of Bristol, Virginia. The roadway surface is built from 3400ST of concrete. The finish was sandblasted to ensure even weathering for an amber patina. The construction was coordinated by Clearwater Constructors (Hensel Phelps) of Denver, Colorado. Ed Westall was the project coordinator, Buddy Johnson was the project supervisor and David McDonnold was the bridge designing engineer. The bridge cost US$10 million to build.
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Pennybacker Bridge Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
116 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • If you're only in Austin for a few days, I wouldn't make this a top priority since it's a bit out of the way, but if you have some extra time and want to get away from downtown, this is a reasonable o...  more »
  • It was a short and steep hike, but the view is amazing! Its not that big at the top, but you just want to hang out there for the whole day. Went there during labor day weekend...it was a bit windy and...  more »
  • It's a nice bridge with some great views. Lots of parking and great photos. Not much else around. Would be pretty in the summer.  more »
Google
  • Beautiful view, quick and slightly strep hike up to the view. Great for watching sunset, at which time it can get a bit crowded. Get a good view of the river below, hills, and a bit of downtown Austin!
  • Access it's a short but steep and possibly slippery hill with big steps at certain points. Parking can get crowded. Really nice sunset over the river.
  • Great views of the lake and city. Iconic.
  • You get the view of the 360 Bridge and the long road after you climb a small cliff. There is no proper parking, cars are parked in the no parking zone near the cliff.
  • Beautiful view. Easy access.

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