Tacoma City Council approves Murray Morgan Bridge agreement

Tacoma City Council Tuesday approved a resolution that authorizes a supplement to the turn-back agreement that transfers ownership of the 96-year-old Murray Morgan Bridge from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to the City of Tacoma.

WSDOT took responsibility of the bridge in the mid-1990s while it constructed State Route 509 from Interstate 705 to Milwaukee Avenue. According to an earlier agreement, the State agreed to return the bridge back to the City once SR 509 was completed. However, the bridge has suffered from years of deferred maintenance and neglect. It was closed to vehicular traffic Oct. 23, 2007, due to safety concerns that arose after weeks of inspections by WSDOT engineers.

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

According to the agreement, Washington State agrees to provide the City approximately $10.8 million dollars in state funds, and $26.2 million in Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funds; the City would agree to accept ownership of the bridge in its current condition, “extinguish[ing] any real of implied agreements between Tacoma and Washington State regarding future bridge expenditures”; and WSDOT will support the City in its effort to secure additional federal funds to rehabilitate the bridge. The rehabilitation calls for replacing the wire lift cables, rehabilitating the center truss span, completing both of the bridge approaches, and completing seismic enhancements.

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

City Council to vote Dec. 1 on Murray Morgan Bridge agreement (11/25/09) — http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1669624&more=0

Tacoma closer to owning Murray Morgan Bridge (11/19/09) — http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1666253&more=0

Murray Morgan Bridge rehab delayed (10/08/09) — http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1638707&more=0

Contract awarded for Murray Morgan Bridge cable project (06/17/09) — http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1571549&more=0

City, State Murray Morgan Bridge funding negotiations will continue (05/06/09) — http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1543929&more=0

Murray Morgan Mojo: $3 million project to replace bridge cables ready to begin (12/16/08) — http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1453283&more=0

City, State consider innovative financing plan for Murray Morgan Bridge rehab (12/11/08) — http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1450307&more=0

2008 Washington State Endangered Historic Properties — Murray Morgan Bridge (06/11/08) — http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1240070&more=0

Murray Morgan Bridge’s Endangered Legacy (05/30/08) — http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1230053&more=0

Murray Morgan Bridge tops list of Washington Trust’s annual Most Endangered Historic Properties (05/27/08) — http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1226325&more=0

Murray Morgan Bridge closure expensive decision (10/31/07) — http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1094891&more=0