Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Murray Morgan Bridge Closed

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) announced today that the 94-year old Murray Morgan Bridge has been closed to all vehicular traffic. Traffic--estimated to be about 1,300 vehicles daily--headed across the Thea Foss Waterway is being routed over the nearby SR-509 bridge.

During the past few weeks, WSDOT bridge engineers have been conducting a comprehensive inspection of the bridge. They found additional structural deterioration and determined that the bridge must be closed to vehicular traffic to ensure public safety; pedestrians and bicyclists will still be allowed to use the bridge for the time being.

Opened to traffic in 1913, the bridge was built to provide access from the downtown area to the industrial area in the Tideflats. As early as 1997, the City of Tacoma and WSDOT began discussions about the future of this corridor and whether to replace, rehabilitate or remove this structure. In 2002, WSDOT reduced the bridge from four lanes to two lanes and imposed a 10-ton weight limit to prohibit all heavy vehicles, except emergency response vehicles, from crossing the bridge.

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