A newly rebuilt northbound Interstate 5 exit to the Tacoma city center is scheduled to open to traffic at 7 a.m. Saturday, July 14, two weeks ahead of schedule. Exit 133 has been closed since April 28 while crews demolished and rebuilt the ramp. The exit was lowered about 20 feet to better align with a new eastbound Nalley Valley Viaduct, scheduled for completion in 2014.
Starting Saturday, northbound I-5 drivers will once again have two options to reach downtown Tacoma. The new exit will reopen to one lane of traffic that will merge with two lanes of eastbound State Route 16 traffic headed to northbound I-5. The Washington State Department of Transportation will also maintain access to the city center from the existing northbound I-5 exit 132, which has been the detour route during the last two-and-a-half months.
The new northbound I-5 exit is flanked by two walls. One wall will remain in place for approximately 10 years until crews complete improvements to the I-5/SR 16 interchange as part of a third project, HOV Connectors. The second wall was a temporary structure that will be demolished once traffic is switched to the new ramp.
This week and next, motorists can expect nighttime closures of eastbound SR 16, South Center Street, South Tacoma Way and the ramp from Union Avenue to eastbound SR 16. The closures are needed to keep drivers safe while crews set girders for the bridge that will temporarily carry eastbound SR 16 traffic while the existing eastbound viaduct is demolished and rebuilt. Details of the closures can be found online here. Detours will be provided for all closures.