Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Murray Morgan Bridge Reopens

After undergoing a $57 million renovation, the Murray Morgan Bridge, which connects the Port of Tacoma with the city’s downtown, has fully reopened, just in time for its 100th anniversary.

The drawbridge, which originally opened in February 1913, was reopened to vehicular traffic at noon on Feb. 1. It had closed in October 2007 after state inspectors found rusted steel and failing machinery they deemed unsafe and declared it too dangerous for traffic.

Since then, a $57 million restoration was paid for by a combination of state and federal funds. Among the improvements is the addition of new motors, cables and controls to the apparatus that raises the center section to allow tall boats into and out of the Thea Foss Waterway.

Additionally, the bridge itself has been narrowed from four lanes to two and two of the former lanes have been converted to bicycle and pedestrian paths. An under-construction elevator is expected to provide access from Dock Street below to the bridge.

Environmental improvements include a new drainage system that routes runoff from the bridge to a rain garden on the Tideflat side of the structure.

A formal dedication ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 15; work on the bridge is expected to continue through February.