Gregoire visits Pierce County I-5 HOV construction site

Gov. Chris Gregoire was in Pierce County Oct. 30 to receive an update on a project under way to add HOV lanes to I-5 near Port of Tacoma Road and the King County line.

Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Secretary Paula Hammond provided an update on statewide American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) projects, and WSDOT Olympic Region Administrator Kevin Dayton summarized progress on the Tacoma/Pierce County HOV Program. Following the briefing, the Governor, Secretary Hammond, local officials, WSDOT staff and Tri-State Construction staff viewed I-5 construction from Porter Way. Special guests included three Tri-State workers hired for the ARRA-funded project.

The project received $35.3 million in ARRA stimulus dollars and supports an estimated 130 jobs.

Washington state agencies are estimated to receive $4.2 billion in federal grants. So far, state agencies have been awarded $2 billion, with $565 million already put to use for repaving roads, upgrading wastewater treatment systems and hiring law enforcement officers, among other areas.

Another nearly $2 billion has come into the state to clean up the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, which has generated an additional 2,900 jobs as of Sept. 30.

On Aug. 11, WSDOT held a groundbreaking ceremony in Fife to mark the beginning of work on the project. “The federal stimulus funding allows us to preserve our aging infrastructure, get people to work and give our economy a jumpstart,” said Hammond during the ceremony. “Our state has been a national leader in terms of capitalizing on these funds and turning them into jobs.”

Initial work activities include restriping both directions of I-5 to create narrower lanes and shifting traffic toward the shoulders. This provides room for equipment and workers in the median. Night-time work is currently under way.

WSDOT continues to piece together a series of Tacoma-area improvement projects that include the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the widening and HOV lanes on State Route 16, the new northbound I-5 collector-distributor lanes between the Tacoma Mall and Tacoma Dome, and the ongoing work to replace the Nalley Valley Viaduct.

More information about the program can be found at wsdot.wa.gov/projects/piercecountyhov/ .

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For earlier Index coverage, click on the following links:

1. WSDOT breaks ground on I-5 HOV project — http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1606509&more=0

2. WSDOT: $31 million Fife, Tacoma I-5 HOV contract awarded — http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1588664&more=0

3. Stimulus funds will add HOV lanes between Port of Tacoma, South King County — http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1563552&more=0