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Weekend Eastbound SR 16 Traffic Revision


On Jan. 5, 2014, crews shifted State Route 16 traffic from a temporary eastbound viaduct to the new permanent viaduct at Nalley Valley. The traffic shift was completed ahead of schedule, thanks to the hard work and hour-by-hour planning by contractor Mowat Construction and the WSDOT construction office overseeing the project. The WSDOT would like to thank the public for altering their travel plans to help reduce congestion in the area during this phase of the project. Remaining work includes completing two new ramps from Sprague Avenue South to Interstate 5. The ramps, which connect drivers to both directions of I-5, are expected to open to traffic this July.



Major traffic expected for eastbound SR 16 in Tacoma

Beginning at 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 3, all lanes of eastbound SR 16 at South Union Avenue will close along with the South Union Avenue on-ramp to eastbound SR 16. Traffic will be detoured through South Union Avenue.

Crews will begin the process of relocating eastbound SR 16 traffic from a temporary viaduct onto the new permanent viaduct near I-5. The work requires numerous day and night lane closures of eastbound SR 16 and the southbound I-5 exit to South 38th Street. In the event of inclement weather, the work and closures will be rescheduled.

Closure specifics:

10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 3
• Close all lanes of eastbound SR 16 at South Union Avenue (detour at Union Avenue);
• Close South Union Avenue on-ramp to eastbound SR 16;
• Close southbound I-5 exit to South 38th Street.

7:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 4
• Open two lanes of eastbound SR 16. One lane will take motorists to northbound I-5; the other lane will take motorists to southbound I-5.
• Open South Union Avenue on-ramp to eastbound SR 16;
• Open southbound I-5 exit to South 38th Street.

10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 4
• Close all lanes of eastbound SR 16 at South Union Avenue (detour at Union Avenue);
• Close South Union Avenue on-ramp to eastbound SR 16;
• Close southbound I-5 exit to South 38th Street.

11:30 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 5
• Open one lane of eastbound SR 16, detour all eastbound SR 16 traffic onto southbound I-5. Motorists wishing to reach northbound I-5 will be detoured via South 56th Street interchange.
• Open South Union Avenue on-ramp to eastbound SR 16;
• Open southbound I-5 exit to South 38th Street.

10 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 5
• Close all lanes of eastbound SR 16 at South Union Avenue (detour at Union Avenue);
• Close South Union Avenue on-ramp to eastbound SR 16;
• Close southbound I-5 exit to South 38th Street.

4 a.m. Monday, Jan. 6
• Open all ramps and roadways. Eastbound SR 16 motorists will be driving, for the first time, on the new permanent eastbound SR 16 viaduct.

No construction-related activities are scheduled on westbound SR 16 this weekend.

The Washington State Department of Transportation encourages drivers to plan a strategy to deal with potentially long daytime delays and heavy congestion on eastbound SR 16. On a typical weekend, this stretch of eastbound SR 16 is traveled by more than 100,000 vehicles. WSDOT traffic engineers warn that without a reduction in traffic during the restrictions, eastbound backups could reach the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which is 6 miles away. Sunday is anticipated to have the largest backups.

To reduce eastbound SR 16 congestion on that weekend, WSDOT strongly encourages drivers to:

  • Reschedule or eliminate discretionary trips.
  • Avoid peak travel times. Sunday afternoon is expected to have the most significant congestion.
  • Allow plenty of extra time to reach your destination.
  • WSDOT expects eastbound traffic backups to reach the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Consider using earlier exits than usual off eastbound SR 16.
  • Use Twitter to stay informed about traffic conditions by following:
    twitter.com/WSDOT_tacoma.

What work is taking place?
Crews are shifting traffic from a temporary viaduct to a permanent viaduct. Once the traffic shift is complete, crews will demolish most of the temporary viaduct. A segment on the west end of the viaduct will remain and will be used in a future project to build a viaduct for high-occupancy-vehicle (HOV) traffic. 

Why are the daytime restrictions necessary?
Work of this magnitude is typically scheduled at night to minimize impacts to drivers. However, once crews start on this phase of the project, they must continue until it’s complete, which means working through the entire weekend. 
  
Why is it important for drivers to plan ahead?
On a typical weekend, this stretch of eastbound SR 16 is traveled by more than 100,000 vehicles. WSDOT traffic engineers warn that without a considerable reduction in daytime traffic during the restrictions, eastbound backups could reach the Tacoma Narrows Bridge which is 6 miles away. The longest delays are expected during the Sunday lane restrictions. 

 
Weekend daytime details:

Saturday daytime lane restrictions:
Eastbound State Route 16 Saturday daytime restrictions map
From 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday Jan. 4, eastbound SR 16 traffic will be reduced to two lanes. One lane will go to southbound I-5 and the other lane will go to northbound I-5. What will be important to drivers is to get in the correct lane before they reach the construction zone. Once they get close to the viaduct, they will not be able to change lanes. 

Sunday
daytime lane restrictions: 
Map of Sunday lane restrictions on eastbound State Route 16
From 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday Jan. 5, eastbound SR 16 will be reduced to one lane at the viaduct, and all motorists will be directed onto southbound I-5 Northbound I-5 traffic will be detoured through the South 56th Street interchange. WSDOT predicts that the worst congestion will occur all day Sunday and strongly encourages motorists to avoid the area.


Keep traffic moving
WSDOT will do everything possible to keep traffic moving during the weekend lane restrictions, including opening the eastbound SR 16 HOV lane to all motorists. The HOV restriction will resume once the work is complete.

Incident Response Teams will be on duty to clear incidents and stalled vehicles that worsen backups.

Tools for drivers

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The work is a part of the $115 million I-5/SR 16 Eastbound Nalley Valley project and the $217 million I-5/SR 16 Realignment – HOV Structure and Connections project.