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Tacoma area construction

Weekly lane and ramp closures for HOV construction

Contractor crews building direct connect HOV lanes between State Route 16 and Interstate 5 will continue with overnight ramp closures to remove an old southbound I-5 overpass to make way for connecting HOV lanes between the two highways.

Wednesday, May 23

  • Eastbound SR 16 ramp to northbound I-5 will close from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. Thursday.

Thursday, May 24

  • Eastbound SR 16 exit to Sprague Avenue will close from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. Friday.
  • Eastbound SR 16 ramp to northbound I-5 will close from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. Friday.

In addition to the above ramp closures, during the week of May 21 travelers can expect overnight single and double lane closures in both directions of I-5 and SR 16 at the following locations:

  • Southbound I-5 between the Puyallup River Bridge and M Street each night Monday, May 21 through Thursday, May 24 starting as early as 8 p.m. All lanes will open by 6 a.m. each following day.
  • Northbound I-5 between L Street and the Puyallup River each night Monday through Thursday starting as early as 9 p.m. All lanes will open by 5 a.m. each following day.
  • Both directions of SR 16 between Union Ave. and I-5 from 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m. Tuesday, May 22.
  • Northbound I-5 from S. 48th Street to I-705 from 11 p.m. Wednesday, May 23, to 4 a.m. Thursday, May 24.

No lane or ramp closures are scheduled over Memorial Day weekend.

McKinley Way and East D Street Closure

  • As early as Wednesday, May 23, contractor crews building a new I-5 overpass will temporarily close the intersection of McKinley Way and East D Street through early fall. This closure gives crews work access to finish building the new McKinley Way / East D Street overpass. During the closure, McKinley Park will remain open. Traffic will be detoured to East Wright Avenue.

Major milestone: New northbound I-5 Puyallup River Bridge opens to traffic
Crews working for WSDOT to build the I-5 Portland Avenue to Port of Tacoma Road Northbound HOV project have reached an important milestone in WSDOT’s ongoing efforts to extend HOV lanes into Pierce County. All travelers on northbound I-5 are now driving across the new Puyallup River Bridge. Moving all traffic onto the new bridge marks the project’s final major stage of construction.

The new 1,569 foot-long Puyallup River Bridge opened to ramp traffic in October, 2017. Since then, contractor crews have been rebuilding the alignment of northbound I-5 so that the lanes are now realigned with the new bridge. 

The project is expected to finish later this year. You can view photos of this project on the WSDOT Flickr account.

Traffic shift on southbound I-5 in Tacoma
Design build contactor has Skanska moved all lanes of southbound I-5 onto a new temporary lane configuration. Here is what drivers need to know about this temporary traffic shift:

Southbound I-5 to westbound SR 16

  • Drivers on southbound I-5 headed to westbound SR 16 will merge to the right between Pacific Avenue and Yakima Avenue to reach the exit to SR 16. This is the same location where drivers currently merge. We mention this because you won't be able to merge over to westbound SR 16 at the last minute. Drivers who miss SR 16 exit can continue on southbound I-5 and exit at S. 56th Street east to northbound I-5 to SR 16.

Eastbound SR 16, I-705, SR 7 and Pacific Avenue to southbound I-5
Travelers on eastbound SR 16 and in downtown Tacoma headed to southbound I-5 will also experience a change in their normal route.

  • Drivers heading to southbound I-5 from I-705, SR 7 and Pacific Avenue will be directed onto the South 38th Street exit, and will rejoin southbound I-5 near South 48th Street via the collector/distributor.
  • Eastbound SR 16 travelers headed to the Tacoma Mall will not be able to exit to westbound South 38th Street. Drivers will be directed via southbound I-5 and exit at South 56th Street, and will be routed back north to westbound South 38th Street. See detour map below:

 Eastbound SR 16 to S 38th Street west detour

Temporary southbound I-5 configuration through 2018

May 2018 SB I-5 traffic switch graphic

View image on Flickr.

This traffic shift creates a new workzone so crews can begin demolishing and rebuilding southbound I-5 at the SR 16 interchange. Crews will also build the connecting HOV lanes between I-5 and SR 16. The temporary configuration is expected to remain in place through 2018.

Changes for the Eastbound SR 16 and S. 38th Street merge to northbound I-5

Contractor crews have reduced the State Route 16 approach to northbound Interstate 5 to a single lane. This temporary change allows construction crews access to a workzone while they continue work on the project.

This ramp configuration has been in place previously and has caused delays. This temporary configuration will be in place through fall 2018 while crews finish the project. To help eastbound SR 16 and S. 38th Street travelers bypass some of the anticipated backups, WSDOT encourages drivers to try an alternate route that uses SR 7. More information about this route is available on WSDOT’s YouTube video.

Travelers who use the ramp may want to plan extra time into their commute.

McKinley Way overpass being rebuilt

  • East McKinley Way at I-5 in Tacoma closed to all traffic so crews can rebuild the overpass to accommodate a wider I-5. The roadway isn't expected to reopen to traffic until late summer 2018.  Until the overpass is rebuilt, drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians will detour to the rebuilt Pacific Avenue overpass. Rebuilding both overpasses is part of the effort to expand I-5 HOV lanes into Tacoma. Crews recently installed the first nine girders on the new McKinley Way (East D Street) overpass, which will span Interstate 5. Watch a quick time lapse video taken on Nov. 30 of the girders going up on WSDOT's YouTube channel.

City of Tacoma Puyallup River Bridge Replacement Project
The City of Tacoma is closing the Pacific Hwy Bridge that spans the Puyallup River starting Monday, May 21, 2018 through February 2019. During the closure, contractor crews will remove and replace the 1927 bridge. For additional information on the project, please contact City of Tacoma project manager Chris Storey at 253-573-2484, or visit the city's project web page.

I-5 - Port of Tacoma Interchange Improvement Project
In June 2018, the City of Fife will begin Phase 1 of this project, which brings road, interchange and intersection improvements to the Port of Tacoma. For more information on this project, please contact Fife Public Works at 253-922-9315, or visit the city's project web page.

Slow down and Give ‘em a Brake
Drivers are advised to give themselves extra travel time and become familiar with current ramp closures and detour routes on Interstate 5 in Tacoma before heading out the door. If you're driving at night, please slow down in work zones and avoid distracted driving. Help keep our work crews safe. Slow down, pay attention, and stay calm. Work zones aren't there to personally inconvenience you. They're there to improve the roads for everyone. It’s a drivers’ own interest to be safe in work zones. Statewide, more than 96 percent of people injured in work zones are drivers, their passengers or passing pedestrians.