The 95-year-old Murray Morgan Bridge will close to traffic from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 8 – 11 while the Washington State Department of Transportation’s bridge preservation crew uses an under bridge inspection truck (UBIT) to examine the Murray Morgan Bridge as part of its twice-yearly inspection cycle. Inspections using the UBIT allow crews to safely take a thorough look at the bridge from all angles. Crews are looking for cracks and other abnormalities to the structure, such as high levels of corrosion.
This is the second set of inspections in two months. Last month the bridge closed to traffic several times so crews could remove cables for testing. These cables were taken to an off-site facility and tested to determine their remaining strength. Crews then replaced the removed cables with new ones. The Murray Morgan Bridge has 64 cables, 58 of which have been in service since the bridge was built in 1911.
Following the bridge inspection in 2000, WSDOT placed load restrictions on the 1,748-foot-long Murray Morgan Bridge and reduced lanes to one in each direction. Bridge engineers decided that due to the bridge’s age and condition it needed to be inspected twice annually, while most bridges maintained by WSDOT are inspected once every two years.
Inspection results will be available next week.
Signed detours will be in place on each end of the bridge during the closures. Motorists are encouraged to allow extra time for their commute and can call 5-1-1 or visit http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/ for road and traffic updates.