I-5 - M Street to Portland Avenue - HOV

Project news

  • Crews are closing the southbound I-5 ramp to SR 7 during daytime hours from Monday, Sept. 17 through Friday, Sept. 21 for stormpond work. The closure will begin each day after the morning commute at 9 a.m., and will be in place until 3 p.m. The ramp will reopen for the late afternoon and evening commute. The adjacent southbound I-5 ramp to I-705 will remain open.
  • Crews are building the new McKinley Way / D Street overpass that spans northbound and southbound I-5. The new overpass is scheduled to open in 2018. Until that time, drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians will detour to Pacific Avenue. The intersection of McKinley Way and East D Street will remain closed through early fall. During the closure, McKinley Park will remain open. Traffic is detouring via East Wright Avenue.
  • Get the latest on summer construction for I-5 and SR 16 at the WSDOT Blog.
  • The eastbound SR 16 ramp to northbound I-5 is reduced to a single lane to accommodate a workzone for contractor crews finishing the project. Travelers coming from S 38th Street or SR 16 can consider using an alternate route that uses SR 7. Learn more on this linked WSDOT YouTube video.
  • 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) $177,142
Pre-Existing Funds (PEF) $95
CWA $0
Total $177,237


Gaius Sanoy
Construction Project Engineer
(253) 365-6700

Cara Mitchell
WSDOT Olympic Region Communications
(360) 357-2703