I-5 - M Street to Portland Avenue - HOV

Project news

  • Starting as early as the last week of March, the eastbound SR 16 ramp to northbound I-5 will be reduced to a single lane to accommodate a workzone for contractor crews finishing the project. This lane reduction has caused delays in the past, and fortunately, this will be the last time we have to implement this lane configuration on this project. Travelers can consider using an alternate route that uses SR 7. Learn more on this linked WSDOT YouTube video.
  • Check out what's ahead for construction on I-5 in Tacoma this spring and summer on the WSDOT Blog.
  • Crews have created a new workzone between mainline southbound I-5 and the southbound c/d lanes. The new workzone allows crews to continue replacing the original surface of southbound I-5 in Tacoma. Drivers can expect continued overnight ramp and c/d closures during this next phase of construction. These overnight closures are necessary so crews can mobilize equipment and trucks in and out of the new workzone during periods when there are lower traffic volumes.
  • Girders were recently installed on the first section of the new East McKinley Way overpass. Check out the time lapse video on YouTube. The new overpass at I-5 is scheduled to open in 2018. Until that time, drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians will detour to Pacific Avenue.
  • community meeting (pdf 341 kb) to discuss a potential operational change to the intersection of Pacific Ave. & S. 32nd Street was held on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. 
  • Find the latest HOV construction information on TacomaTraffic.com.
  • Southbound I-5 in Tacoma has been reconfigured into two separate roadways. This video gives you an idea of what to expect so you can plan ahead and not miss your exit. This temporary configuration will go away in April 2018.
  • View project photos on WSDOT's I-5 M Street to Portland Avenue HOV project Flickr account.

Why is WSDOT building HOV lanes?
The Tacoma/Pierce County HOV Program is a series of highway projects to provide operational improvements and high-occupancy-vehicle (HOV) lanes on Interstate 5, State Route 16, and State Route 167. Through Tacoma, heavy I-5 traffic creates frequent congestion in this area. HOV lanes will ensure that transit, vanpools and carpools can move efficiently through the corridor, especially when traffic is congested in the adjoining general-purpose lanes. This reliability tends to increase ridership in multi-passenger vehicles and thereby helps ease demand in the general-purpose lanes, making the overall highway system work better for everyone.

The project widens northbound and southbound I-5 so they will both have four general-purpose lanes and one additional HOV lane from M Street to near L Street. To allow for the widened roadway, WSDOT will replace the Pacific Avenue and McKinley Way bridges over I-5, and build a new northbound I-5 bridge over the I-705 interchange. Other improvements include a new stormwater collection and treatment system, and replacement of all existing northbound and southbound pavement with new reinforced concrete. The project also replaces the illumination system and enhances the existing driver information systems including traffic cameras, variable message signs, and traffic data systems.

The End Result
This part of the project demolishes and rebuilds Pacific Avenue and McKinley Way bridges spanning I-5. It builds a new northbound SR 7/I-705 bridge, and widens I-5 to accommodate northbound and southbound HOV lanes from M Street (milepost 132.84) to the vicinity of the L Street bridge (milepost 134.41).

Needs & benefits

  • New HOV lanes will open when adjacent projects are complete. 
  • The project expands and improves the auxiliary lanes at the I-705 interchange to provide additional congestion relief. New concrete barrier will be constructed down the median of I-5, and on the roadside to protect drivers from fixed hazards.
  • Other project improvements will allow WSDOT to provide better traffic camera views, increased communication to motorists about traffic accidents and delays, and better traffic flow information to the public.


  • Design work was completed in March, 2014.  
  • The project went on advertisement March 31, 2014; bids were opened June 4, 2014. The project was awarded to Max J. Kuney Company June 10, 2014.
  • Construction began August, 2014. 
  • The project is set to be complete mid to late 2018.


Financial Data for PIN 300509M
Funding Source Amount ($ in thousands)
2003 Gas Tax (Nickel Funding) $0
2005 Gas Tax (TPA) $160,755
Pre-Existing Funds (PEF) $95
CWA $0
Total $160,850


Gaius Sanoy
Construction Project Engineer
(253) 365-6700

Claudia Bingham Baker
Communications Manager
WSDOT Olympic Region
(360) 357-2789