Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Murray Morgan Bridge - Back to the City?

Last week the Tacoma City Council’s Environment and Public Works Committee made a recommendation to pass a turnback agreement wherein ownership of the 95-year old Murray Morgan Bridge would pass from the State of Washington to the City of Tacoma.

Originally named the 11th Street Bridge, in 1957 the 1,748 foot long steel-truss structure that connects downtown Tacoma to the Port of Tacoma was re-decked. The bridge and the corresponding E. 11th Street were designated as SR 509. At that time, ownership of the bridge was transferred from the City of Tacoma to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Since that time the Murray Morgan Bridge has deteriorated and in 2007 WSDOT bridge engineers determined the bridge must close to all vehicular traffic, including emergency vehicles, to ensure public safety.

Advocates for the historic bridge argue that it is a landmark and should be rehabilitated. In response the City hired a consultant to develop a rehabilitation plan would allow the bridge to carry traffic. The consultant concluded that a comprehensive rehabilitation would cost approximately $80 million dollars. With just under $40 million for this project in the WSDOT budget, this leaves a $40 million shortfall that the City is trying to close.

To move forward with this plan the City has agreed to reassume responsibility for the bridge and its maintenance. According to the turnback agreement, the state would agree to provide the City with the available balance of the Puyallup Tribal Settlement Account, approximately $10.8 million and $26.2 million in federal funding, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

According to the Tacoma Daily Index, the final turnback agreement still needs to be approved by the full City Council.

The Tacoma Daily Index, “Tacoma closer to owning Murray Morgan Bridge.”

No comments:

Post a Comment