HOUSTON - A new bridge named for a longtime Houston attorney will allow bicycle riders to cruise miles of trails along the bayou.

The Bill Coats Memorial Bike Bridge was dedicated Nov. 16 in honor of Bill Coats, a founder of Coats Rose Yale Ryman & Lee PC.

Coats, who died May 23, 2010, at age 69, was involved in many beautification projects in Houston, including the co-founding of Trees for Houston and the Hermann Park Conservancy.

"Bill Coats was a leader with a vision, and he was famous for his ability to solve complex problems," said Coats Rose Director Pat Gaas in a press release. "(Former Houston Mayor) Bill White asked Bill Coats to facilitate the release of long delayed federal funding to pay for bike trails. Once that was done, Bill urged that the project be staffed with both an architect and an engineer so the finished bridge would be both practical and pleasing to the eye. That was Bill, always looking for a way improve the community."

The Bill Coats Bridge in Hermann Park connects to a Brays Bayou pathway that will eventually create hike and bike trails from Barker’s Reservoir to the Houston Ship Channel.

The modern, arched $3.6 million bridge will span more than 290 feet across Brays Bayou. It was made possible by a federal bikeways program, the Texas Department of Transportation, the city of Houston, Houston Parks and Recreation Department, the Department of Public Works and Engineering and the Hermann Park Conservancy.

The bridge was named winner of the Landmark Award in the Keep Houston Beautiful 2012 competition.

Coats was a founding member of Coats Rose in 1981, and headed the firm’s construction/surety section. Today, the firm has more than 90 attorneys practicing in Houston, Clear Lake, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and New Orleans.

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