Cara Mitchell, WSDOT communications, 360-480-3648
TACOMA – The I-5/State Route 16 Eastbound Nalley Valley project reached its last major milestone shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 17, when the Washington State Department of Transportation opened two new ramps from South Sprague Avenue to northbound and southbound Interstate 5. The opening of the ramps marks the completion of the second phase of improvements to the I-5/SR 16 interchange, and sets the stage for expanded HOV lanes in Pierce County.
“While the improvements to the Nalley Valley viaduct have been a massive undertaking, the end result provides congestion relief, which is good for the local economy and the region’s quality of life,” said WSDOT Olympic Region Administrator Kevin Dayton.
Traffic along the viaduct has almost tripled in volume since the original viaduct opened in 1971, when only about 40,000 vehicles crossed it every day. Today, more than 113,000 vehicles travel the viaduct daily.
“During construction, we had to ask the public to alter their travel plans to help reduce congestion while the contractor built a temporary viaduct alongside its permanent replacement,” said WSDOT Project Engineer Neal Uhlmeyer. “The public has played a big part in our ability to complete this project on time, and we greatly appreciate their support.”
State and local officials broke ground on the $114 million Eastbound Nalley Valley Project in October 2011. The first portion of the three-phase interchange overhaul, the westbound Nalley Valley viaduct and associated ramps, opened to drivers in June 2011. Stage three, the HOV Connector project, will build new a new HOV viaduct direct-access HOV ramps between I-5 and SR 16.