Construction debris falling from the Murray Morgan Bridge is damaging boats on the Thea Foss Waterway below.
Boat owners say they want more decisive action from the bridge reconstruction project general contractor, PCL Constructors, to halt the damage and to repair their vessels.
The $51 million reconstruction and rehabilitation project on the 100-year-old lift bridge is nearly finished, but a score of boat owners say they’re unhappy with metal shavings, sandblasting grit, paint, rivets and other construction materials that have rained down on their boats moored below.
Here’s an example of some of the materials they’ve collected from atop their boats.
Boat owners say bolts and rivets have punctured holes in the roofs of boat sheds and fine metal shavings and particles have embedded themselves into the paint and gel coat of their vessels.
Merely washing or buffing the boats won’t remove those particles which they say rust at the first sign of moisture causing a pattern of pinhead-sized rust spots on their vessels.
Insurance adjusters have told them their boats may have to be sanded to remove the debris and recoated. That process won’t be inexpensive. Early estimates range from $5,000 to $40,000 per boat depending on the boat’s size and the extent of the damage.
The City of Tacoma’s bridge project engineer Tom Rutherford said he has told the general contractor to expedite compensation for boat and marina owners. PCL didn’t return a request for comments.