Winds batter Murray Morgan Bridge cover

Tacoma firefighters responded Sunday at 11:45 a.m. to a report of a hazardous condition on the Murray Morgan Bridge. First...

Tacoma firefighters responded Sunday at 11:45 a.m. to a report of a hazardous condition on the Murray Morgan Bridge.

First arriving firefighters found that the protective plastic sheathing surrounding one of the towers on the bridge had failed and a large volume of particulate matter was being blown from the scene. The incident was upgraded to a hazardous materials call to bring in additional resources to determine the nature of the plume of material coming out of the site.

The incident commander and Haz-Mat technicians determined that the plume consisted primarily of materials used in the sand blasting process and the scene was turned over to the general contractor to secure the sheathing and for clean up, according to Tacoma Fire Department spokesperson Joe Meinecke.

The sheathing is part of a construction project under way to restore vehicle traffic to the bridge. 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. Eventually, the bridge was closed completely to all traffic, including pedestrians and bicyclists, while contractors replaced wire lift cables.

One year ago this month, Tacoma City Councilmembers approved a resolution to enter into an agreement with WSDOT, which returned ownership of the bridge to the City of Tacoma, and accept approximately $46.2 million in federal funds to help pay for bridge repairs. In January of this year, City Council approved a purchase resolution that awarded a $49.2 million contract to PCL Construction Services of Bellevue, Wash., to fully rehabilitate the Murray Morgan Bridge and restore motor vehicle traffic to the bridge by 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.”

In March, the Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission approved a plan to paint the Murray Morgan Bridge black. The bridge was last painted in the mid-1970s when the truss spans were colored “space blue” and the girders on the city-side bridge approach were colored “viking grey.” Prior to then, in 1964, the old car ramp from Cliff Street to Dock Street was painted green. The new paint aims to further preserve the bridge.

Tacoma firefighters responded Sunday at 11:45 a.m. to a report of hazardous condition on the Murray Morgan Bridge. First arriving firefighters found that the protective plastic sheathing surrounding one of the towers on the bridge had failed and a large volume of particulate matter was being blown from the scene. (PHOTO COURTESY TACOMA FIRE DEPARTMENT)

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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Related Stories