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Originally published October 24, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified October 24, 2007 at 2:03 AM

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Historic Tacoma bridge closed

The 94-year-old Murray Morgan bridge — a steel-truss bridge labeled "structurally deficient" — was closed Tuesday to all motorized-vehicle...

TACOMA — The 94-year-old Murray Morgan bridge — a steel-truss bridge labeled "structurally deficient" — was closed Tuesday to all motorized-vehicle traffic for safety reasons, the state Department of Transportation said.

The Murray Morgan bridge was closed after an inspection by engineers who found structural deterioration.

State engineers inspect the nearly 3,200 Washington highway bridges about once every two years, but the Murray Morgan bridge has been inspected every six months for the past several years because of its poor condition, state officials said.

"After years of working with the city to keep this bridge safely open to traffic, information from our recent inspection indicates that WSDOT must close the bridge immediately," Paula Hammond, state transportation secretary, said in a news release.

Traffic has been rerouted over the nearby Highway 509 bridge, but pedestrians and bicyclists will be allowed to continue to use the bridge for now, state officials said. About 4,600 cars used the Murray Morgan bridge each day.

The bridge is named for a late Tacoma historian and was originally known as the 11th Street bridge.

The Department of Transportation, which owns the bridge, had planned to demolish it in 2006, saying it had outlived its useful life and was beyond repair.

The demolition was put off after grass-roots efforts to save the bridge.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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