Above is a Photograph I took as I crossed the Pennybacker Bridge in the late afternoon in; early September. AKA 360 bridge and Loop 360 Bridge

The Pennybacker Bridge: A Conversational History

The Pennybacker Bridge – Loop 360 N. Capitol Texas Hwy) is a cantilever bridge that spans Lake Austin in Austin, Texas. It was built from 1979 to 1982.

Pennybacker Bridge Location Close View Map
Pennybacker Bridge Austin Texas

Why was the bridge built?

The Pennybacker Bridge was built to provide a crossing over Lake Austin for traffic between the city of Austin and the Barton Creek Greenbelt. Prior to the construction of the bridge, there was no direct road connection between these two areas.

Materials used

The Pennybacker Bridge is made of steel and concrete. The steel was sourced from a variety of places, including the United States, but mainly from Korea. The concrete was sourced from local quarries in Austin.

Cost and expected lifespan

The Pennybacker Bridge cost $10 million to build from 1979 to 1982. This would be equivalent to approximately $86 million in 2023 dollars. The bridge is expected to last for at least 100 years.


The Pennybacker Bridge requires regular maintenance to ensure its safety and longevity. This maintenance includes painting the bridge, inspecting the steel beams, and repairing any damage.

According to the City of Austin’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), the estimated cost to maintain the Pennybacker Bridge in Fiscal Year 2023 is $2.5 million.

Source: City of Austin Capital Improvement Plan: https://capitalprojects.austintexas.gov/

Please note that this is just an estimate and the actual cost to maintain the bridge may vary depending on factors such as the condition of the bridge, the severity of weather events, and the need for unexpected repairs.

Pedestrian path

The Pennybacker Bridge has a pedestrian path that is popular with hikers and cyclists. The pedestrian path offers stunning views of Lake Austin and the Barton Creek Greenbelt. Here is how to access the path (Overly difficult directions)… the best way is to use your Smart Phone Navigation. But here is what it looks like in print:

To get to the Pennybacker Bridge in Austin, Texas:

  1. Drive south on US-183 (also known as 360).
  2. Take the exit for the Pennybacker Bridge.
  3. Merge onto RM 620.
  4. Immediately after the exit, turn right onto the shoulder of RM 620.
  5. There is a small parking area on the west side of the road, just north of the bridge.
  6. Park your car in the designated parking area.
  7. Follow the trail to the pedestrian path.

Traffic and capacity

The Pennybacker Bridge carries an average of 16,000 vehicles per day. The bridge has a capacity of 24,000 vehicles per day.

Pennybackeer Bridge Loop 360
Pennybacker Bridge Location Map

Country club under the bridge

The Pennybacker Bridge passes over the AustinCountry Club golf course. I can remember seeing the Pennybacker Bridge featured on Television each year I watched the Dell Match Play event (Sadly 2023 was the last year) and always wanted to visit. It was just fun to imagine being on a boat on Lake Austin and enjoying the Tournament from a short distance. The Austin Country Club is right below the Bridge to the East on the South Side.

Height and weight

The Pennybacker Bridge is 450 feet long and 90 feet high. The bridge weighs approximately 3 million pounds.

Alternative bridges

If the Pennybacker Bridge had to be closed for maintenance, there are a few alternative bridges that could be used to cross Lake Austin. These bridges include the Lamar Boulevard Bridge, the MoPac Boulevard Bridge.

Conversational summary

The Pennybacker Bridge is a beautiful and iconic bridge that is an important part of the Austin landscape. It is a popular destination for hikers, cyclists, and motorists alike. As a bridge it is well-maintained and is expected to last for many years to come.

Approaching the Loop 360 Bridge
North on Loop 360 Pennybacker Bridge

Here are some additional interesting facts about the Pennybacker Bridge:

  • 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.
  • The bridge was designed by the architectural firm of Wilson, Morris, Crain & Anderson.
  • The bridge was built by the Texas Highway Department.
  • The bridge was dedicated on October 20, 1967.
  • The bridge is a popular spot for weddings and other special events.

Loop 360 Boat Ramp

The Loop 360 Boat Ramp is located below the southern end of Pennybacker Bridge over Lake Austin. This three-acre park is primarily used for launching and picking up watercraft. A small amount of shoreline also allows access for fishing.

Hyundai Heavy Industries’ role in providing the steel for the Pennybacker Bridge

Hyundai Heavy Industries is a South Korean chaebol that is one of the world’s largest shipbuilding and construction companies. The company also produces a wide range of other products, including steel.

In the case of the Pennybacker Bridge, Hyundai Heavy Industries supplied the steel for the bridge’s cantilever beams. Cantilever beams are a type of beam that projects from a support and is supported only at one end. This type of beam is often used in bridges because it allows for long spans with relatively few supports.

Hyundai Heavy Industries’ steel for the Pennybacker Bridge was specially designed to withstand the harsh environmental conditions in Austin, Texas. The steel is also resistant to corrosion and fatigue.

Hyundai Heavy Industries’ role in providing the steel for the Pennybacker Bridge is a testament to the company’s expertise in steel production and its commitment to quality. The bridge is now over 44 years old and is still in good condition, thanks in part to the high-quality steel that Hyundai Heavy Industries supplied.

Here are some specific examples of Hyundai Heavy Industries’ role in providing the steel for the Pennybacker Bridge:

  • Hyundai Heavy Industries worked closely with the design team to ensure that the steel beams were the right size and strength for the bridge.
  • Hyundai Heavy Industries used a special heat treatment process to make the steel beams more resistant to corrosion and fatigue.
  • Hyundai Heavy Industries inspected the steel beams carefully before they were shipped to the United States.
  • Hyundai Heavy Industries worked with the contractor to install the steel beams on the bridge.

Hyundai Heavy Industries’ role in providing the steel for the Pennybacker Bridge is a significant example of the company’s commitment to quality and its global reach.