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I-5 - SR 510 to SR 512 Congestion Management

Construction Status
Thumbnail image of congestion improvements on I-5 between SR 510 to SR 512

Click image to see larger map

New I-5 ramp meters at JBLM 

New ramp meters between SR 510 and SR 512 help maximize I-5 efficiency.

Variable message sign on northbound Interstate 5 near DuPont
The new variable message sign on northbound I-5 in DuPont near Center Drive. 

I-5 Auxiliary lane between Thorne Lane and Berkeley Avenue
The southbound I-5 auxiliary lane between Thorne Lane and Berkeley Street opened Dec. 2013.

New southbound I-5 Thorne to Berkeley auxiliary lane
The new southbound I-5 auxiliary lane between Thorne Lane and Berkeley Street as seen while under construction.


September 2016

  • In an effort to increase I-5 efficiency, new ramp meters were activated (pdf 144kb) along I-5 between State Route 510 and State Route 512.
  • In this project, WSDOT  installed "intelligent transportation systems (ITS)" devices between State Routes 510 and 512 that help WSDOT manage traffic and communicate real-time traffic conditions to the public. In addition to ramp meters, crews also installed:
  • 7 closed-circuit traffic cameras
  • 3 variable-message signs and supporting electronic hardware
  • Travel time signs and data stations


Why is WSDOT adding "smart highway" devices along I-5 between Lacey and Lakewood? 
To help address increasing traffic volumes and longer hours of congestion seen along this corridor, WSDOT is making short-term, medium-term and long-term improvements. This medium-term project has added electronic hardware that will allow WSDOT to better manage traffic, and to communicate traffic conditions to the public. 

The End Result
For the short term, WSDOT’s working relationship with the leadership at JBLM – forged over a decade of innovate, cost-effective measures – was the key to unlocking the immediate northbound, morning traffic problem.

In 2010, the two agencies formed the Traffic Circulation Committee – an operations planning team comprised of leaders from JBLM, WSDOT, Washington State Patrol and local municipalities.

The team collectively works together to identify solutions to transportation issues in and around the installation by creating a holistic traffic and gate plan with decision points, milestones, resourcing required, risks, etc. This is all done under the strategy of Moving Washington.

Ensuring that we are moving Washington through this busy corridor is an ongoing effort.

Project Benefits
The cameras and ramp meters along the more than 15-mile stretch of Interstate 5 between Marvin Road in Lacey and SR 512 in Lakewood allow WSDOT to manage traffic demand. From a central traffic management center WSDOT staff use the camera images to keep apprised of state highways.

The images are used to call out emergency personnel, report traffic conditions through highway signs and radio messages, and monitor flow. They are the same images you can use to know before you go.

Ramp meters manage traffic demand by controlling the number of cars that merge onto I-5 when congestion is heavy. This will help keep mainline I-5 moving.

The technology also allows the WSDOT Travel Times to offer travel times between Olympia and Tacoma.

What is the project timeline?
WSDOT completed the ITS Fiber Improvements project in November 2013. This project installed and expanded 16 miles of fiber optic cable to create the ITS infrastructure needed to operate new "smart highway" devices.

Crews began installing "smart highway" devices that help WSDOT manage traffic and communicate traffic conditions to the public in September 2013. Crews also began building an auxiliary lane on southbound I-5 between Thorne Lane and Berkeley Street. The new lane opened in December 2013.

Background work is ongoing and planning studies are underway to define long-term improvements to the corridor.

A 2010 study led by the City of Lakewood, WSDOT and JBLM with participants from a range of partners was funded by the Office of Economic Adjustment and the Department of Defense. The study laid the groundwork to move to the next phase which develops solutions for long-term needs.

The innovative management of the Traffic Circulation Committee - JBLM, WSDOT and its partners - continue to look for opportunities to improve or reduce congestion in the corridor.

Financial Information

This project is funded from the following sources:

Financial Data for PIN 300596T - WINs C00596T; C00596U; C00596W; C77796T
Funding Source Amount ($ in thousands)
2003 Gas Tax (Nickel Funding) $0
2005 Gas Tax (TPA) $0
Pre-Existing Funds (PEF) $6,363
Tiger III - Federal Funds $13,281
Total $19,644

How can I get more information?
Gaius Sanoy
WSDOT Project Engineer

Claudia Bingham Baker
WSDOT Communications Manager

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