Tacoma City Council votes Tuesday on $49M Murray Morgan Bridge rehab contract

Tacoma City Council is prepared to vote Tuesday on a purchase resolution that would award a $49.2 million contract to PCL Construction Services for a project that would rehabilitate the Murray Morgan Bridge to restore motor vehicle traffic to the 98-year-old structure in 2012. According to the purchase resolution and supporting documents, the project includes “structural repairs, painting, deck replacement, mechanical and electrical system repairs and replacement, and superstructure seismic enhancements.” The City of Tacoma opened bidding on the project in June 2010. Six applicants submitted statements of qualification, and three of those applicants were invited to submit proposals (one applicant withdrew its proposal). PCL Construction Services of Bellevue, Wash., submitted a proposal to complete the repairs at a cost of $46,870,000. Advanced American Construction of Portland, Ore., submitted a proposal at a cost of $45,626,147. However, PCL Construction Services received a value score of 96.7; Advanced American Construction received a value score of 91.4.

If councilmembers approve the resolution, it would inch closer to the city’s goal of restoring the old bridge — an effort that dates back several years.

The bridge was closed to motor vehicles Oct. 23, 2007, due to safety concerns that arose after weeks of inspections by Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) engineers.

In 2008, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation included the bridge on its annual list of Most Endangered Properties. Also in 2008, the bridge was included on Historic Tacoma’s “Watch List” of endangered historic sites. Eventually, the bridge was closed completely to all traffic, including pedestrians and bicyclists, while contractors replaced wire lift cables.

In 2009, councilmembers approved a resolution that reverted ownership of the bridge from WSDOT back to the City of Tacoma. WSDOT took responsibility of the bridge in the mid-1990s while it constructed a portion of 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.

In September of last year, councilmembers approved a resolution to enter into an agreement with WSDOT and accept approximately $46.2 million in federal funds to be paid between 2011 and 2013. The amount includes a $20 million interest-free loan, with $7.5 million loaned in 2011 and $12.5 million loaned in 2012. The city has 10 years to repay the loan. The loan is from unobligated WSDOT local Surface Transportation Program funds. Of the remaining $26.2 million FHWA funds, $7.5 million is to be paid in 2011, $12.5 million in 2012, and approximately $6.2 million in 2013. Last month, city officials announced thieves broke into the bridge mechanical room, stole copper wires, and damaged the control panel that allows operators to raise and lower the bridge deck. The estimated replacement cost is between $250,000 and $300,000, according to city officials.

Tacoma City Council is scheduled to vote on the purchase resolution during its meeting Tues., Jan. 4 at 5 p.m. at the Tacoma Municipal Building, Council Chambers, 747 Market St. The meeting will be broadcast live on TV Tacoma and online at tvtacoma.com. For a copy of the agenda and meeting materials, click here.

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of the Murray Morgan Bridge rehabilitation, click on the following links: