Murray Morgan Bridge rehab delayed

A plan to replace the wire cables on the 96-year-old Murray Morgan Bridge in downtown Tacoma has been delayed until January 2010, according to an Oct. 1 report to Tacoma City Council.

The report, which was prepared by City Manager Eric Anderson ( ), indicates the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) had planned to close the bridge for seven weeks beginning Oct. 19. However, the agency informed City Hall that during WSDOT’s inspection of their contractor’s wire rope manufacturer, they “determined that it did not meet the specification to use materials made in the United States.”

The new bridge closure schedule will be determined after the contractor revises the construction schedule.

In June, WSDOT awarded the $998,704 contract to Ronglin’s Inc. At the time, WSDOT’s preliminary schedule included four to five months for fabrication of the cables and the seven-week bridge closure.

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. Washington State took 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 ownership the bridge, but 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.

In 2008, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation included the bridge on its annual list of Most Endangered Properties.
According to Anderson, the City is continuing negotiations with Washington State on a turnback agreement. Meetings were held last week with WSDOT and the Federal Highway Administration, and additional meetings have been scheduled with the Secretary of Transportation to negotiate terms.

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For earlier Index coverage of the Murray Morgan Bridge, click on the following links:

Contract awarded for Murray Morgan Bridge cable project (06/17/09) —

City, State Murray Morgan Bridge funding negotiations will continue (05/06/09) —

Murray Morgan Mojo: $3 million project to replace bridge cables ready to begin (12/16/08) —

City, State consider innovative financing plan for Murray Morgan Bridge rehab (12/11/08) —

2008 Washington State Endangered Historic Properties — Murray Morgan Bridge (06/11/08) —

Murray Morgan Bridge’s Endangered Legacy (05/30/08) —

Murray Morgan Bridge tops list of Washington Trust’s annual Most Endangered Historic Properties (05/27/08) —

Murray Morgan Bridge closure expensive decision (10/31/07) —