2 votes

Murray Morgan Bridge


Murray Morgan Bridge

View from West

Photo taken by K. A. Erickson in December 2009


BH Photo #272656

Street Views 


Vertical lift bridge over Foss Waterway on E. 11th Street in Tacoma
Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington
Open to traffic
Opened Feb. 15, 1913; rehabilitated 1957; closed 2007; rehabilitated 2012-3
- American Bridge Co. of New York (Steel Fabrication)
- International Contract Co. (Contractor)
- Waddell & Harrington of Kansas City, Missouri (Engineers)
- Streetcar
- Tacoma Railway & Power Co. (TR&P)
Vertical lift
Length of largest span: 221.1 ft.
Total length: 1,748.1 ft.
Deck width: 25.9 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 18.0 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on July 16, 1982
Also called
11th Street Bridge
City Waterway Bridge
Foss Waterway Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+47.25390, -122.43335   (decimal degrees)
47°15'14" N, 122°26'00" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
10/542875/5233535 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Tacoma North
Average daily traffic (as of 2017)
Inventory numbers
NRHP 82004278 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 34433 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of February 2017)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 84.7 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • August 23, 2022: New photo from David Shedlock
  • February 4, 2022: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • January 23, 2022: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • April 30, 2018: New Street View added by Leslie R Trick
  • April 14, 2018: New photo from Leslie R trick
  • April 5, 2018: New photos from Richard Doody
  • April 24, 2017: New photo from Dana and Kay Klein
  • September 18, 2016: New photo from Dave King
  • April 26, 2016: New Street View added by Douglas Butler
  • December 7, 2015: New Street View added by Douglas Butler
  • January 9, 2014: New photos from K. A. Erickson
  • August 26, 2013: New photos from Douglas Butler
  • March 24, 2011: Updated by Nathan Holth: This Bridge Is Now Slated For Rehabilitation.
  • December 24, 2009: Posted photos from K. A. Erickson
  • December 21, 2009: New photos from Michael Goff
  • January 13, 2009: Updated by Michael Goff: Updated Name, Crossing and Builders

Related Bridges 



Murray Morgan Bridge
Posted August 8, 2017, by Mike Betz (mike [dot] betz [at] gmail [dot] com)

Many pictures of current and previous bridge. http://what-where.appspot.com/showitem?featurename=TacMurray...

Murray Morgan Bridge
Posted April 30, 2014, by K. A. Erickson

Fifteen months after the Murray Morgan Bridge was reopened, the ongoing saga with the pedestrian elevator appears to be now resolved. A story this week in the Tacoma News Tribune indicates it is/ or will be soon available for use.

Murray Morgan Bridge
Posted January 9, 2014, by K. A. Erickson

The Murray Morgan Bridge is one of the many deserving candidates for the 2013 Othmar H. Ammann Award for Historic Preservation.

Its local paper the Tacoma News Tribune featured an article last year detailing the groups that pressured the city of Tacoma and state of Washington towards preservation and not demolition as the Port of Tacoma favoured. That article has since disappeared, the link missing or behind a paywall now. Retirees, the historical society, and other civic organizations came together with a goal of seeing the Murray Morgan celebrate it's 100th birthday and more to come.

The bridge takes it's current moniker from a beloved local historian and writer who spent a couple years as the bridge tender on the bridge. What Jack Kerouac was to lookouts, Murray Morgan was to bridge tenders, in the Pacific Northwest.

The Port of Tacoma expanded over the years as imports increased from the Asian Rim. Bigger and wider container ships made maneuvering through the Blair Bridge difficult. Proposals were floated to rebuild the Blair drawbridge to allow for larger ships or even a bridge high enough that clearance would not be a problem. The Port nixed those ideas. They wanted removal and nothing ever there again. What the Port of Tacoma wants they usually get. The Blair Bridge was demolished January 1997 severing 11th Street that connected the downtown area to Browns Point-Dash Point. Drivers now use the 509 extension around the Port area to get to Browns Point.

The Port having won the Blair Bridge battle set it's sights on the Hylebos. It seemed a good place to expand with a long waterway. A bridge stood in the way. At some point an inexperienced bridge tender, there are those who insist sabotage, caused the drive shafts to break. That bridge remained in the upright position for boat traffic as a prolong debate began about whether or not it was worth fixing. Why not demolish? Someone noticed after several years of inaction that the Port of Tacoma through expansion and development had now only one road to evacuate in the event of an emergency. Oops. Repairs on the Hylebos Bridge where thus completed at a much higher cost that if they fixed it back when all of this occurred in the first place.

The Murray Morgan Bridge was also seen by the Port of Tacoma as standing in the way of progress. The Eastern shore of City (Thea Foss) Waterway was thought to have been a good spot for more container farms allowing unloading/transport of goods. Locals in the end prevailed although in the renovation of the Murray Morgan they painted the counterbalances “City of Tacoma” on one side and “Port of Tacoma” on the other.

The renovated Murray Morgan Bridge features a black coat of paint on all but the top overhead that was said to be too expensive/time consuming to continue work on. The sidewalks that were on either side where removed to be placed next to a reduced traffic configuration, two lanes as opposed to four. The car deck that once connected from Cliff Street down to Dock was also scrapped. City leaders feared homeless people would camp on it if it remained although it seemed well fenced off in my opinion.

The bridge opened to two dedications an informal and formal one. For the next few months PCL Civil Constructors finished up work on the bridge before it finally opened for good.


Murray Morgan Bridge
Posted February 11, 2013, by K. A. Erickson

The have held two dedications for this bridge, an informal one two weeks ago when opened for traffic, and a formal one this past Friday. Work was still going on when I visited last week. One lane of traffic alternating. An elevator was being constructed alongside as well.

The local newspaper has done a few stories about this. They have a limited free story then paywall system.

Here is a link to one such article:


One image in their archive is listed by mistake ... can you spot it Bridgehunters?

Murray Morgan Bridge
Posted March 24, 2011, by K. A. Erickson

Since the Murray Morgan/City Waterway Bridge is of interest to you I'd like to say that work has not been progressing on this bridge other than covering sections with netting. Metal thieves cut out the wiring to it and the city in desperation raised it manually to accommodate boat traffic. I do have images but I am in the midst of collaborating with others on a local project and trying not to have duplicates. You can I suppose scrounge up some. The American Bridge Company supplied $575,000 worth of steel in its construction. International Contract had Grant Smith & Co and Porter Brothers work on the substructure.

Shortly after it was open to the public the Tacoma Daily Ledger on Tuesday February 18, 1913 published a “Name the bridge” contest, $25 for the winner from the following selections: First Puget Sound Lift, Metropolitan, Industrial Pass, City, Mount Tacoma, Bay View, Tahoma, Union, New Era.