Contract awarded for Murray Morgan Bridge cable project

A contract to replace the steel cables on the 96-year-old Murray Morgan Bridge was recently awarded by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), according to Tacoma officials.

In a June 11 report to Tacoma City Councilmembers, Acting City Manager Rey Arellano said Rognlin’s Inc. $998,704 bid was approximately $500,000 less than the next lowest bid and more than $1.4 million less than the WSDOT engineer’s estimate.

The report also notes WSDOT’s preliminary schedule includes four to five months for fabrication of the cables and the bridge to be closed for seven weeks in November and December for construction. The bridge closure schedule will be updated after the contractor submits a construction schedule.

The Murray Morgan Bridge was closed to vehicular traffic Oct. 23, 2007, due to safety concerns that arose after weeks of inspection by WSDOT engineers. The state took over ownership of the bridge in the mid-1990s while it constructed State Route 509 from Interstate 705 to Milwaukee Avenue.

In April 2004, the state offered the city $25 million to take over the bridge. The city rejected the offer because it was insufficient to rehabilitate the bridge. One consultant’s estimate indicated it will cost approximately $65 million to $80 million to fully rehabilitate the bridge. The City and WSDOT continue to negotiate the transfer of ownership and rehabilitation of the Murray Morgan Bridge, according to city officials.

In 2008, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation included the bridge on its annual list of Most Endangered Properties.