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Olympic Region hits a Triple Crown!

Three notable events in as many weeks has kept WSDOT’s Olympic Region about as busy as it can be.

The first event on July 10 highlighted the start of a $98 million contract to widen and resurface Interstate 5 through downtown Tacoma.

I-5 M Street to Portland Avenue groundbreaking.

WSDOT officials gathered with residents and officials from the City of Tacoma and the Washington State Patrol to ceremonially break ground for this next chapter in WSDOT’s $1.6 billion Tacoma/Pierce County HOV Program.

The I-5: M Street to Portland Avenue project will widen I-5 to accommodate HOV lanes in each direction. 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. Construction on the three-year project will begin in August 2014.

Over on State Route 16, another piece to the Tacoma/Pierce County HOV program is finishing up.

From left to right: Andrea Roper with US Representative Derek Kilmer’s office, Kierra Phifer with US Senator Patty Murray’s office, Tacoma City Councilmember Lauren Walker, WSDOT Deputy Secretary Cam Gilmour, Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, Tacoma Deputy Mayor Victoria Woodards, Mowat Construction President John Sandstrom, David Westbrook with Governor Jay Inslee’s office,  WSDOT Olympic Region Administrator Kevin Dayton and Washington State Patrol District One Captain Charles LeBlanc.

A ribbon cutting ceremony took place on July 17 to mark the near completion of the I-5/SR 16 Eastbound Nalley Valley project. When the original viaduct opened to traffic in October of 1971, only 40,000 vehicles used it on a daily basis. Today that number is over 113,000 vehicles. The I-5/SR 16 Eastbound Nalley Valley project is the second of three projects to rebuild the Nalley Valley Viaduct. The first project, Westbound Nalley Valley, opened in 2011. The third project, the I-5/SR 16 HOV Connectors, will be built later and will provide HOV connections between I-5 and SR 16.

SR 167 Puyallup River Bridge

Construction has also started on a new northbound State Route 167 Puyallup River Bridge. Over the July 11 weekend, construction crews working for WSDOT physically moved the historic 1925 steel truss bridge approximately 60 feet to the east so work could begin on a new bridge in the vacated space. The 1925 bridge will continue to carry traffic across the Puyallup River over the year that the new bridge is under construction.

WSDOT staff took advantage of the unique circumstance to create a time-lapse video of the actual move, which you can access here. Although the new bridge will look similar to a parallel concrete bridge, it will accommodate wider lanes, shoulders, and will sport an eight-foot sidewalk for pedestrians and bicyclists. The new bridge is designed to be widened if future funding becomes available.

View photos from the I-5: M Street to Portland Avenue groundbreaking and theI-5/SR16 Eastbound Nalley Valley ribbon cutting events on WSDOT’s Flickr page.