Protection Meets Recreation

Recreation-minded residents of Cedar Park and Austin know Upper Brushy Creek Dam 7 for the trail that runs across the dam into Brushy Creek Lake Park.

However, Dam 7 also provides flood control to many homes and businesses downstream in an area that was farmland when the dam was built more than 50 years ago.

The dam was in need of upgrades to meet current safety requirements.

Freese and Nichols devised a solution to bring Dam 7 into compliance with state regulations and maintain the popular trail: an innovative labyrinth weir configuration that from above looks like the zigzag pattern on Charlie Brown’s shirt.

The design increased the dam’s auxiliary spillway capacity without enlarging the structure’s footprint. Eight different Freese and Nichols disciplines contributed to the $18 million project that water district officials call “our showpiece.”

The successful project increased flood protection and gave residents an improved Brushy Creek Regional Trail with native plantings, scenic overlook and better accessibility.

See more innovative projects in our latest Innovation Report.