Local Information

HOV makeover in Tacoma requires squeeze at SR 16/I-5 connection

Friday, September 30, 2016 - 10:53

Doug Adamson, communications, 360-357-2716

Eastbound SR 16 drivers near I-5 can expect delays, congestion through spring 2017

TACOMA – Temporary but significant changes are coming for drivers who use the eastbound State Route 16 on-ramp to northbound Interstate 5 in Tacoma. The change will allow crews to continue efforts to extend HOV lanes into Tacoma, but a similar configuration in 2015 created routine backups on SR 16 approaching I-5.

Weather permitting, on the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 5, the eastbound SR 16 on-ramp to northbound I-5 will be reduced to one lane through spring 2017. In the event of inclement weather, the changes will be rescheduled.

“Because we’ve used this traffic configuration before, we already know it will cause delays,” said WSDOT Project Engineer Brenden Clarke. “Space is very tight through the area, which limits our options. We’ll work as quickly as we can to get this phase of construction behind us.”

The work zone space created by reducing eastbound SR 16 to one lane at northbound I-5 will allow crews to build new road approaches to the newly constructed bridge over Interstate 705/State Route 7. That new bridge will eventually carry all northbound I-5 traffic, and existing northbound I-5 lanes will be converted to HOV lanes.

Once the lane reduction is in place, eastbound SR 16 travelers merging onto northbound I-5 can expect congestion and delays, particularly during the morning and afternoon commute hours. Drivers headed north of Tacoma who encounter backups are encouraged to consider detouring onto State Route 7, to South 38th Street (east), and looping back onto the SR 7 on-ramp to northbound I-5.

Real-time traveler information is available from the WSDOT app and by following the WSDOT regional Twitter feed.

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