Claudia Bingham Baker, WSDOT Communications, 360-357-2789
DUPONT – Technology improvements along Interstate 5 near Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) will soon give travelers and commuters a better look at traffic conditions along this busy corridor.
Preparations are underway to install seven closed-circuit TV cameras along a 14-mile stretch of I-5 between State Route 510 in Lacey and State Route 512 in Lakewood. A clear line of sight is needed for the new cameras to operate properly, so next week the Washington State Department of Transportation will begin removing trees that would otherwise obstruct the new cameras. The trees will subsequently be replaced in other areas of the corridor following construction.
Starting the week of March 24 and continuing for about three weeks, crews will remove trees at nine locations within the 14-mile area. All affected trees are located within WSDOT’s right of way, and most are Cottonwood, Shore pine or Douglas fir trees. No historical trees in the JBLM area will be removed.
Maps available on WSDOT’s project website show the specific areas where trees will be removed. The contractor plans to chip the woody debris at a staging site near Center Drive.
“Trees are important to us,” said Ed Winkley, WSDOT’s Olympic Region landscape architect. “We hand tagged each tree to make sure only necessary trees are being removed. After the project is finished, we’ll go back in and replant 300 Douglas firs and 200 Garry oaks to replace those we took out.”
In addition to installing closed-circuit TV cameras, this project includes new ramp meters, variable-message-signs and traffic data stations with supporting hardware. These communication devices not only help WSDOT manage traffic, but they provide real-time traffic information to the public. Crews also built an auxiliary lane on southbound I-5 between Thorne Lane and Berkeley Street that opened to traffic on Dec. 5, 2013.
This project is part of a larger effort to tackle traffic congestion through the I-5 corridor and was funded with a federal TIGER III (pdf 7.48 mb) grant.